Nothing can rob a home of happiness more than unresolved anger and constant quarrels. Over and over, the Bible warns against this. The Book of Proverbs is filled with admonitions against strife, as are the New Testament letters of Paul, Peter, and James. But once quarrels start, they are difficult to stop.

My parents were fine people with strong Christian values, but they constantly quarreled. Dad could not (or would not) control his critical remarks about Mom’s family. During their fifty-year marriage, this continual battle formed the background of our home during my brother’s and my childhood.

As they aged, instead of mellowing, they quarreled more. I often received phone calls from one or the other, telling me of their complaints. What could I do? I loved them both and could not be a referee. I wanted to shout, “Stop it! Stop this silly quarreling!”

Once I drove seven hundred miles to visit them, only to find Dad ready to divorce Mom, and she about ready to murder him.  In order to separate them, I insisted he come home with me for a few weeks.  The trip was the worst I have ever endured, for he railed about Mom the entire way. Occasionally, he would stop to sing, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”

After fourteen hours on the road, we arrived at my house. I fell into the arms of my husband, sobbing in emotional exhaustion. Dad hardly drew breath before continuing his denunciation of my mother.

Tommy listened politely a few moments, and then asked, “Dad, do you know how to shut up a woman?”

“Ain’t no way,” Dad snarled.

Tommy pulled me to him and gave me a big, resounding kiss.  Astonished, my dad blinked and burst into laughter. “Someone once told me you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” he said. “Guess I should try it.”

All his anger vanished. He called Mom to tell her we had arrived. Before he hung up, I heard him say, “I love you.a, He settled down for a nice visit and never again spoke of divorce.

King Solomon was right. “Love makes up for all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12 NLT).


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