January 26, 2010

Marriage Conflict

Written by Boyd Bailey

Marriage Conflict… “When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would.” 2 Samuel 6:20

When conflict arises in your marriage, how do you deal with it? You can address it harshly and create some misgivings and hurt. You can ignore it and guarantee future anger and resentment. You can argue until one person wins, somewhat like boxers spar back and forth. The winner is eventually the most skilled debater. None of these options is healthy over time. The desired outcome should not be a win/lose, but a win/win.

Each should feel like they have collaborated on the solution, not just a passive win/win where one begrudgingly capitulates to the pressure and manipulation of another. Conflict resolution in marriage is the process of honoring and understanding another for the purpose of serving them at their point of need. It is an others first attitude.

So when your wife desires to visit her parents over the holiday, you do everything you can to work it out. Or, if your husband longs for time with the two of you alone, you see the financial expense of an overnight stay in a hotel as an investment in your marriage, rather than an unneeded expenditure. When there are certain things your spouse feels strongly about, understand those and seek to love them through this sensitive area.

Marriage is not a ‘give and take’, it is a ‘give and give’. Both giving to the other for Christ’s sake. You give time, you give respect, you give love, you give money, you give yard work, you give housework, you give parenting, you give to others, and you give to God. You give in marriage because of and for God’s glory to shine through your home.

Does your husband serve as the spiritual leader of the home? Do you serve and support your wife with domestic responsibilities? Do both of you bow to the Lord as the owner of your household? Apply Christ’s expectations of respect and love and you will both win.

Do not become defensive, overbearing or harsh. Let your speech be seasoned with grace. Let your face reflect care and compassion. Assume the other has your best interests in mind. You can say the right words the wrong way and it will make things worse. You can say the wrong words the right way and it will lead to confusion. Or, you can say the right words the right way and everyone is happy. Be sensitive to speak the truth in love.

But, what about the disputes that remain unresolved? There may need to be professional help or the need of a mentoring couple to listen and give counsel. Above all, keep Christ central and in humility extend mercy and grace. Seek to out serve each other.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

How can I best honor my spouse through marital conflict? Who is a wise mentor couple we can learn from and share our frustrations?

Related Readings: Song of Solomon 2:3-13; I Corinthians 13:6; Galatians 5:13

Transformational Living
What did I learn from the Lord in today’s Bible reading? How will I respond?

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