When a Christian couple is first married, great care is taken by each to go the second mile, to give where ever they can, and the deep love they have for each other covers a multitude of faults. But as time moves on couples tend to take eachother for granted. And if they are not careful, they can tend to be more selfish in their married life.
Life sometimes can be tough and as the Word of God says “a persons days are few and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Financial problems, the added responsibilities and demands that come with children, spiritual difficulties and struggles, and other issues can take their toll on your marriage.
Disagreements will come up and it is in these times that your faith will be tried, you will find your spiritual life lacking. New challenges arise to find grace so you can conduct yourselves in a godly and Christlike manner one toward the other. Very few couples will be exempt from coming to a place in their marriage where they realize they are having problems with conflict resolution and they need help.
The things I am going to share with you are not something I read in a book but godly principles I learned on my knees seeking God for help in my own soul. While it is impossible to cover every aspect of conflict resolution in a short article like this, I do feel I can provide some good general rules that will help couples to resolve their conflicts in a godly manner.
3 Steps to Change:
The first step is to realize that you are having problems in resolving conflicts and that your conduct as a couple has digressed below the Bible standard of loving your spouse as your self and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The second step is for one of you to take the step forward to put an end to disagreements spiraling out of control into conflicts – where you are bringing eachother’s failures and faults, are interrupting eachother, or are raising your voice and talking over eachother, or even worse.
This means when you see a disagreement developing that would typically get out of control, you need to end the discussion before it progresses. Sometimes the other spouse will want to continue with the discussion, but you will just have to hold your ground and tell them that the conversation is moving into an argument that you don’t want to be part of and you are bowing out.
The third step is for both to admit that you need help and that the way things are going is not working. You will need to lay out a set of rules for resolving conflicts. That may mean using the set below or even a modified set, or it many mean getting a Christian to moderate your conflicts and help you work through them.
Guidelines for Resolving Conflicts:
1. Start out with prayer together. Pray for grace to love the other as yourself and to do to the other as you would have them do to you. Ask God to give you grace to conduct yourselves in a godly manner.
2. Don’t allow for personal attacks or inflammatory or exaggerated statements to be made when you are discussing your differences. Don’t say that your spouse never helps you if that is not true. Stick to the facts.
3. If you start falling into the old ruts and you end up saying things you know Christ is not pleased with, stop and retract what you have said and ask for forgiveness and then carry on.
4. Give eachother equal time to explain their position. Don’t be interruptive or talk over eachother. Remain calm and never raise your voice.
5. Make sure each of your knows what the other person’s position is and why they hold that position. It won’t hurt for each to verbally explain what they think the other’s position is.
6. Remember that marriage is a give and take relationship and that you need to be seeking what you can put into the marriage – not what you can get out of the marriage.
7. Look for places where you can give into the other. If the issue is not really important to you and it is to your spouse, you need to be willing to give in. Never via to get your way just for the sake of getting your way.
8. While the husband is the head of the home in temporal matters, it is always best if you can come to an agreement without the husband pulling rank and saying “I am the head and this is the way it is going to be.” While you may have the right to do that, you will harm your marriage in the long run.
9. Sometimes you can deal with more than one issue at a time and you can work out an agreement where one will give in on one issue and the other gives in on the other. You can also note that in the last several issues you dealt with, one of you gave in and it is the other’s turn to give in.
10. In issues like ‘what kind of a car to buy’ or ‘which house to get’, try to keep things in perspective. When you get to heaven it won’t matter at all what you drove or where you lived.
11. In major issues like ‘where to move’ or ‘what congregation to attend’, their must be agreement and most times in agreements there will have to be some give and take.