Could you use a great resource on prayer? My friend, Rachel Wojnarowski, is giving her ebook away for FREE on Amazon for 48 hours on Monday/Tuesday, Sept. 3&4. You’ll also be encouraged by her post “Prayer Changes Marriage.”
Conflict in relationships is inevitable. A marriage without conflict is one that stuffs problems, pushing them aside until a delayed, and sometimes major, eruption. Stuffing doesn’t solve problems. Truth is essential to disarm conflict.
I worked my way through college as a summer employee of a defense contractor outside our nation’s capital. Because of my ability to pay attention to detail, I edited training manuals for nuclear submarines. Familiar with detailed designs of their inner workings, I had never seen one close up, until Jeff and I stood on a bridge outside of Seattle. The Trident passed beneath us, long and immense, dark and metallic, able to deliver every threat it suggested. I know a submarine when I see one. At least, I thought I did.
I recently mistook a conflict for a submarine. Through my flawed, human lens, I saw a conflict the size of a Trident fully loaded for battle. Responding with all shields deployed, my own self-protection fed the conflict until Jeff declared, “I’m not a submarine coming at you. I’m a row boat!”
When the dark waters of hurt and self condemnation swirl around us, and we can barely see above the black waves, a row boat may look like a submarine … but it’s not. Truth is essential to disarm conflict.
I can not always trust my emotions to guide me out of a conflict when I am deeply engaged. I need to see myself and my spouse honestly and see our problem truthfully. It’s in the darkness of conflict when we need our Jesus most, when He says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29 NASB). In a conflict we may be angry and condemning of ourselves and our loved one, but Jesus answers with gentleness and humility.
I’m previewing a book I can’t wait to share with you, Everything by Mary DeMuth, to be released in October. In Everything Mary says …
“Humility is not about beating ourselves up; it’s about understanding the amazing nature of Jesus … Jesus frees me from my overcritical self.”
Conflict is inevitable, and we need Jesus to help us see through the sinfulness and weakness exposed in marriage. He shows us what’s true. The next time you look up and think you see a submarine coming at you, remember that truth is essential to disarm conflict.
Questions to disarm conflict:
- What is the intent of your spouse’s words? Assume the best; don’t nit-pick words.
- What needs do you both have that are stirring up the conflict?
- Are you coming across like a submarine or a row boat?
- How can you be “gentle and humble” like Jesus? You might need to take a break.