“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife (husband / roommate / neighbor / teammate).”
Quarrelsome people make life miserable for themselves and for the people around them. This is true for any kind of relationship: at home, at work, at school, on a team, in the church, in the community, in friendships … and online. Nobody likes to be around a quarrelsome person.
“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” (Proverbs 15.18)
Quarrels don’t happen on their own. Quarrels happen because people make them happen. Yes, sometimes there are honest disagreements and agree-to-disagree situations, but that’s not what Proverbs is referring to. Quarrels are unnecessary arguments, the kind that wise people are able to either avoid or de-escalate.
“A man of wrath stirs up strife and one given to anger causes much transgression.” (Proverbs 29.22)
Conflict is part of life. All relationships have some degree of conflict. We have honest disagreements. We have people who oppose what we stand for. There are people who need to be challenged or corrected. I call this kind of confrontation “creative abrasion” and “productive discomfort.”
The question is, how wise and effective are you when you have a conflict? Do you handle it with excellence and skill (hayil), or do you make it worse? Some people unfortunately make conflicts longer and more difficult, while other people know how to make conflicts shorter and much less severe.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15.1)
The foolish person makes a bad situation worse. The wise person makes a bad situation better. It’s an R Factor discipline: Your R is most important when the E is most challenging. Don’t make a difficult situation worse by responding poorly.