Recently, divorce is gaining a massive inroad into the body of Christ as the easy way out of a supposedly bad marriage. Who’s lying to us that there wouldn’t be times of trials and conflict? These conflicts only come to humble us, teach us wisdom from our failures, bring forth strength from our weaknesses and perfect our love for our spouses. Maggie and I, in our 20years of marriage have had our fair share of experiences and I want to show you a strategic perspective to approaching marital conflicts that we’ve learned over the years.
What’s the source of our conflicts? Did I just hear someone say – the devil? That’s not completely true because without your cooperation, the devil wouldn’t get into your marriage. How then do we cooperate with the devil? By breaking simple rules of relationship that God set in motion. A huge percentage of marital conflicts result from what we said, what we did not say, how we said what was said, what we did or didn’t do. All of these sum up to one thing – the way we respond to our spouses. We must acknowledge first that we all come from different spiritual,
psychological, cultural and physical exposures in life. Some are good while some are bad. These experiences form the materials with which we develop templates in our lives and when we relate with our spouses, we filter every of their words & actions through that template. Unfortunately, most (not all) of these templates simply supports our fears, insecurity, doubts and ego. It does not allow us respond to our spouses based on God’s word. A template is a pre-set response format, a window through which we spontaneously analyse positions, reactions and actions of others in other to chronicle, interpret, then labels our spouse’s responses to us as good or bad; acceptable or non-
Secondly, we fail to take into consideration that our spouses have a different make up in their pattern of reasoning (logic) and in their emotional response. The ladies are more likely to view & interpret issues from their feeling while most men would respond from their sense of reason. For most men, things must make perfect sense while for most women, it has to feel good. For instance, it appears appropriate to press a toothpaste tube from beneath, while to someone else it could feel good to press it from the middle. These are two different perspectives on an issue. Being different does not necessarily mean it’s wrong; it simply means different. Perspective is the angle from which you view a thing. We must learn to accommodate our spouse’s views on an issue before drawing conclusions.
When an issue crops up, no matter how good or right your responses may appear to you, the worst you could is to assume that you are right. You will be shocked at how wrong you may have been when you view it from your spouse’s view point without any prejudice.
In every conflict situation, both spouses somehow contribute to it directly or indirectly. You must find out how you’ve contributed to the crisis situation before playing the blame game. When you begin hearing yourself use the word “you did this” “you said that” “you, you, you… ” during an argument, then you’re playing self righteous and pointing fingers at your spouse. Off course nobody wants to be the culprit in a relationship conflict. Rather learn to use “we failed here” and so on. It means both of you are accepting the responsibility for the situation instead of blaming one person. Isaiah 58 verse 9, 10 spells out the rewards of putting away the pointing fingers.
“… If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of finger and speaking wickedness….Then your light
shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.”
We must remember that it’s not about being right rather it’s about resolving a situation, solving the problem at hand without damaging our relationship with our spouse. Unfortunately most of the time, we leave the situation at hand and begin to attack our spouse’s personality. That is exactly what the devil wants. Take for instance, a man gets back home from work and discovers lunch isn’t set. Instead of asking “what happened to lunch today? Or why isn’t lunch ready?” Rather you said “why did you choose to starve us today?” One statement is judgemental while the other gives room for dialogue and explanations. We must learn to fight fair and learning is a process. The target in a conflict shouldn’t be the person (Your spouse) but the situation at hand. What’s the difference? One is focused on someone’s personality the other is focused on someone’s reactions or actions in a circumstance. Approach it from a non accusative, non judgemental position. You can end up winning the war and lose your spouse’s heart. Which do you really want?