What We Heard: Rodney Wilson, Pastoral Counselor at LifePoint Church in Smyrna, TN, reminds us that marriage takes work! There WILL be conflict. It’s not a question of ‘if’ it will happen but instead ‘how’ will we respond when it does happen.
Married couples will face issues on many fronts. Some will seem very small and others will appear unresolvable. Are we prepared for the conflict? Rodney, who celebrates 40 years of marriage, gives several great insights to help us prepare for various conflicts we’ll face in marriage.
The goal is ‘civil disagreement’, learning to be civil with one another as we walk through conflict resolution. One of the biggest battles we will face in reaching this goal will be our internal battle with an “I attitude”. We should always strive to take our eyes off of ourselves. It’s important to remember that “what we feed grows and what we starve dies” so we should starve selfishness, anger, lust, pride and other ungodly things.
Rodney points out that men tend to have a fight or flight mentality when dealing with conflict resolution .It’s important for us to learn how to fight and how to step away from the conflict to create space to breathe and hopefully avoid responding out of emotion. Get the anger out of the conflict. Yelling to get your point across is NOT more clearly communicated or understood by your spouse, it’s only louder. This is also true for resolving conflict with children- get anger out of the conflict. Train them in the way they should go not in the way they want to go.
What It Means: It will take energy, it can be hard work, but we must be intentional in preparing for conflict. There is so much at stake. How we invest today in our marriage will show up tomorrow, so we must invest wisely.
What We Do Next: Communicate, communicate, communicate! Speak honestly with your mate about whatever issue you’re facing and then allow space, a time to process. As conflicts arise, we should always be willing to say to our spouse, “I need your help with this”. This nurtures a feeling that you’re working together on the problem. Our leadership sets the tone for our homes so we should strive to be servant leaders, thinking of the other as more important.
Final Takeaways: We grow together as we walk together through conflict. How we resolve the ‘little’ conflicts will inform how we resolve the bigger conflicts.