Marriage is a recipe for disaster!
You take two sinners: join their lives, finances, and living space together. What could possibly go wrong? It’s been said many times before that marriage is hard. This shouldn’t surprise us. When two sinners spend enough time around one another, there will be conflict. Sinner + Sinner = More sin. Still, this is God’s plan for most people. In fact, early on, God made it clear, “It’s not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
The reality is that your ability to navigate conflict can either make your marriage stronger or tear it apart. Establishing the ability to fight for the relationship when there is a fight will transform your relationship.
Every conflict is an opportunity to establish new boundary lines for the kingdom of God!
Here are two principles and eight rules of engagement for when conflict comes up in your marriage*:
PRINCIPLE #1 | Be Loyal
#1 Start With a Commitment to Work Through Instead of Run From (Matthew 18:15-17)
Instead of running from an uncomfortable conversation, you need to be willing to address conflict.
#2 In Marriage, Refuse to See An Exit (Matthew 19:5-6)
Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.
Since most of us want to be happy, by removing divorce as an option, you naturally incline yourself towards resolving conflict.
#3 In Marriage, Go to Bed With Your Toes Touching (Ephesians 4:26)
“In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
#4 Assume the Best (1 Corinthians 13:7)
“Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
- Your husband will come home late from work without calling…even when you’ve told him to call!
- Your wife will fail to do your laundry…even though you told her you were out of whites!
- Your husband will forget your anniversary!
PRINCIPLE #2 – Be Kind!
“Love is patient, love is kind.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4
Here are four rules to keep you kind when there is conflict:
#1 Don’t Use Explosive Terms (Proverbs 12:18, 18:21)
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18
- “You” statements – A great way to escalate a conflict is to make an accusation.
- Absolute statements:
- “You never…”
- “You always…”
- “Every time…”
- “No one…”
#2 Don’t Use Abusive Speech (Ephesians 4:29)
Don’t say things you don’t mean!
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18:21
#3 Don’t Interrupt (Proverbs 18:13)
Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.