In this post and a few more to follow I will talk about conflict in a marriage and how to resolve it with the help of our Lord.
Much has been written about the source of conflict in marriages: the usual suspects include money, work, children, household chores, personal habits, communication, friends, and sex.
Certainly it is true that if couples don’t share the same values in these areas friction, resentment and conflict are going to surface. It’s unreasonable to expect our mates to share all of the same values as we do. There are going to be differences and conflict. What can be done?
Resolving conflict first requires identifying why we think and act a certain way and taking responsibility for it (rather than blame others).
If you get furious that the toilet seat was left up, why did you get so angry? Sure, he left the seat up and he had agreed to always put it down. But, look at why you are so angry? Do you get angry when people don’t do what you say? Do you get angry when you think you are being disrespected? Do you see this as another example of how he doesn’t care for you anymore, or listen to you anymore? If you are really honest with yourself and look deep you’ll remember one or more occasions as a child when something happened and you decided “no one listens to me”, or “I’m always ignored”, or “they must not love me because they didn’t do what I asked”, or something like that.
Fast forward to today’s toilet seat. The seat was left up and your anger was triggered by an event of the past. You raised your voice to him, he reacted and raised his voice and the argument was launched. That will happen again and again until you see why you’re angry and take responsibility for the anger.
(He on the other hand isn’t responding lovingly to your request about the toilet seat because of some event in his past. I’m certainly not impling in my example that the husband has no responsibility in the situation).
Now back to you. Realize that you weren’t born with those thoughts about yourself and others. You took on those thoughts as a child and they continue to run your life today. God didn’t give you those thoughts. He created you whole and perfect. Furthermore, His Word guides us on how to live a life in harmony with each other. When we stray from the Word, we can come under the influence of the Devil. The Devil looks for every opportunity to drive a wedge between husband and wife.
In future posts I’ll discuss how several passages in the Bible provide couples (and all Christians) with some guidelines for resolving conflict.