I want to continue with our series, Marriage Oneness, to help us build a greater Christ centered marriage. If you haven’t had a chance to read through the previous posts please click the link below because each post builds on the previous one. The next item up for discussion is something I can 100% guarantee every healthy marriage has, and that’s conflict.
I believe we need to look at conflict as an opportunity to develop a deeper level of oneness. Tim and Lea Lundy share that conflict is the fire that forges two “me’s” into one “we.” Resolved conflict can lead to a great soul level harmony that will give your marriage a clear direction, stronger emotional connection, and a deeper commitment.
Why are marriage conflicts so hard to resolve? Tim and Lea lay out 3 areas that contribute to this issue;
- We lack basic conflict-resolution skills
- Wrong Timing: Never address tough issues when you’re stressed or upset
- Wrong Emotion: Beware of anger, the “emotional alcohol.”
- Wrong Methods: Blame, shame, and defensiveness won’t bring you closer to oneness
- We Lack personal objectivity
- The heartis deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
- “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? – Matthew 7:3 (NIV)
- We chose the wrong approach
- The win-at-all costs approach
- The withdraw-and-smolder approach
- The give-in-and-die-a-little approach
So how do we handle all those obstacles getting in the way of healthy conflict resolution? Let’s look at what Tim and Lea Lundy have lined out;
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Couples in Resolving Conflict
- Focus on one issue, not many
- Watch your anger level. If you get off to a bad start, call a do-over
- A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. – Proverbs 15:18 (NIV)
- Practice give-and-take communication with a focus on listening and learning. True understanding is the essential ingredient to conflict resolution
- Attack the problem, not the person
- Learn to ask for and give forgiveness
- Seek a resolution both of you can live with
- Always keep your eye on the prize: greater oneness between you, your spouse, and Christ
What to Do If You Get Stuck in Conflict
- Do not let unresolved conflict poison your marriage
- “In your anger do not sin”:Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, – Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)
- Together, seek outside help to resolve your conflict
- For lack of guidance a nation falls,but victory is won through many advisers. – Proverbs 11:14 (NIV)
So there you have it; a nice and easy 7 step program to make conflict resolution easy breezy! I know, I know…it’s not really that easy, but these methods do work if you are both committed and intentional about it.
If I could throw out one more trick that I believe will cover most of the seven steps above is to pull out an empty chair during your conflict. This will seem/feel awkward but this empty chair represents the Holy Spirit who is right there listening. Just know that he is always there for help and if things start to get out of hand come together and say a simple pray. You’ll be amazed how quickly and efficiently this can calm things down!
Always remember who the real enemy is, Satan. He will do anything he can to pull apart what God put together.