Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Conflict Resolution in Marriage

One thing all marriages share in common, even the very best ones, is conflict.

One of the vital ways you and I minister to each other, helping each other to mature in Christ, and to spur each other on, is through this main skill in the art of correction: conflict resolution.

Conflict is inevitable because we disagree with each other from time to time, because and because we’re sinners. But the Bible teaches that we’re to see conflict as an opportunity to demonstrate God’s presence and His power, and opportunity to glorify God and to grow to be like the Lord Jesus.

A. Often the way to deal with conflict is to avoid it with the idea that it is better, as one author put it, to build guard rails at the top of the cliff than an ambulance service at the bottom.” I don’t mean in unhealthy ways, like
1. Making certain subjects taboo
2. Hoping a problem will disappear if you ignore it
3. Just avoiding that person altogether
4. Being extra nice so that person will be nice too
5. If they say something, pretending that no offence was taken, that it was no problem, no big deal
6. Getting a whole bunch of people on your side first, so that person wouldn’t dare to attack you
7. Acting like it never happened

Healthy Ways
1. Keep communication open and honest
2. Invite others to be open and honest too by the way you respond to what they say
3. Have realistic expectations based on the other person’s spiritual and emotional maturity, circumstances and limitations
4. Be clear about your hopes and expectations
5. Deal with the little things before they turn into big things

B. Work through the conflict with a three-fold goal in mind to (1) solve the problem (2) grow closer during the process (3) become more godly through the process
1. Evaluate the conflict: is there sin involved, is it just a misunderstanding or disagreement, or a personal preference? Be quick to listen and slow to speak so you can get a grasp of what actually happened and how it made everyone feel
2. Stay on the subject. Deal with one thing at a time.
3. Don’t try to assign motives
4. Don’t bring up the past
5. This is not a time to vent, accuse, complain, or indulge self-pity

If this post got you to thinking, please leave a comment and join the conversation

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