Man Caves And She Sheds: Conflict
Because of the nature of man, marriage conflict is a fact of life, even for believers in Christ. Conflict- free relationships do not come naturally or easily to anyone. Fortunately, as believers, we have the Bible for instructions in relationships. Applying biblical principles will enable us to handle marriage conflict most effectively.
Something To Talk About:
When finding yourself being pulled apart from your spouse rather than pulled together consider these 6 steps:
- Call on God for help: Don’t go it alone. A solid relationship with God is the basics we need when we start to build a marriage and relationships that last. It makes sense that since God created marriage, He is interested in the outcome. And since only God has the ability to make a marriage as He intended it to be, it would be prudent to hand over our marriage and relationship to Him, especially in times of conflict. When we are feeling stress from conflict, prayer will help us re-focus and gain the right perspective. It makes sense to build your spiritual house on something solid. When you build your house on the Rock, you can withstand the cultural storms and our selfishness and shortcomings in every aspect of life.
- Confess my part of the conflict: If we make a poor choice or decision that causes conflict in marriage, we need to own up to it. It can be a critical point in the conflict. It tells your spouse that you don’t need your partner to change first so that you can change in response. That you are willing to admit that you are part of the problem and that you take ownership of your actions and that your spouse doesn’t have to manage both of you. It tells your spouse that you want to invest your time and energy into the relationship. It is hard to make the first move. But I believe it is a move that can bring you closer to the relationship you desire.
- Convene a peace conference: We’re told in the Bible, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.“ (Romans 12:18) So do what you can, with God’s help, to be a peacemaker within your home. That doesn’t mean that you can never make a mistake. It just means that you’re careful and prayerful in interactions with your spouse and when necessary that you convene a peace conference. A peace conference is a scheduled, mutually agreeable “appointment” to discuss what’s bothering you. A face-to-face meeting to put your cards on the table and to resolve any differences and hopefully either take the steam out of the conflict or put it behind you.
- Cut out abusive language: Colossians 3:8 says, “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.” Verbal abuse is all too common. The simplest definition is perhaps the best: any form of communication that diminishes you. This can take the form of pervasive criticism, sarcastic comments, the dismissive wave of a hand to name a few. It is critical to understand that verbal abuse is never justified. John 13:34-35 says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
- I must consider my mate’s perspective: learn to look at conflict from your spouse’s perspective. That usually requires us to listen to be better listeners. When you listen, you encourage them to open up. Listening helps you understand. You can’t understand someone you’re not listening to. You tend to look at things differently when you understand his or her perspective. Understanding is going to bring you closer together. Too often we already know what our spouse is going to say. And while they’re talking, we’re preparing our own little speech. Instead of concentrating on what our mate is saying; we’re planning our rebuttal. We’re not really hearing what they’re saying. And when we are not listening, we will never hear their perspective.
- Concentrate on reconciliation, not resolution: When we feel the marriage pulling apart the goal is reconciliation. Reconciliation is rebuilding and restoring the relationship rather than expecting all the problems to be fixed overnight. Restoring a marriage that has pulled apart is hard work. It involves trust in God and His timing, laying aside our own wants and desires, and holding onto hope for our marriage despite the world screaming loudly to just let go. Reconciliation requires Jesus. It requires that we intentionally take Jesus with us every part of the day. With Jesus, it becomes easier to focus on Him instead of conflict.
- Does conflict boil down to who’s winning and who’s losing? Why or why not?
- Do you welcome conflict or view it as a threat?
- When you run into obstacles, road-blocks, or conflicts in your marriage, what’s your “default” reaction? Do you get angry? Blame one another? Or do you look for ways to solve the problem and move forward? Have you ever tried a peace conference?
- How is God involved in ending the conflict in your marriage/relationships?
- How often do you sit down as a couple simply to talk to one another? What do you need and expect from each other in terms of openness and depth of communication? Do you feel that you understand each other’s perspectives? If not, what can you do to improve the situation?
- As a couple, do you have a conscious strategy or game plan for resolving your differences? If not, have you ever stopped to analyze the way you handle conflict?
- What does reconciliation mean to you? Is reconciliation necessary for every marital disagreement or spat?
- Did you see lifelong commitment modeled in your family of origin? How has your experience affected your view of conflict resolution?
- What’s the most conflict ending thing you can do for your relationships this week?
- What’s your biggest takeaway from the entire Man Caves and She Sheds series?
Take one thing home with you:
Hot dogs and baseball, peanut butter and jelly, eggs and bacon – all of these are better together. What else is better together? Solomon, one of the wisest men in the world says in Ecclesiastes: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Making a marriage last for a lifetime is something both partners have to make a priority. Couples whose marriages last celebrate their commitment to each other. Solidifying one’s vertical relationship with God goes a long way toward ensuring the horizontal relationship between a husband and wife is a lasting, God-honoring one.