The best outcome for marital conflict is neither avoidance nor victory, but honor and unity. We must realize how much the mindset we take into conflict determines the outcome of our disagreements. Many of us feel like conflict is inherently wrong and, therefore, whenever it occurs, feel defeated. Others of us are competitive and when conflict arises have an instinctual “game on” response that generates a “refuse to lose” mindset.
Conflict done well can be the best friend of your marriage. This is not a nicer recasting of the mantra “fight hard; make up hard.” It is a reality rooted in the “two sides of the same coin” relationship between love and anger.
“Anger is the fluid that love bleeds when you cut it (p. 97).” C.S. Lewis in Letters to Malcom
When we get angry or experience love we are saying that something matters a lot. When we get sinfully angry we are saying that this “something” matters more than our spouse (at least in that moment). When we express self-control we are saying that our spouse matters more than this “something.” This is why conflict done well is romantic – it affirms the value of the marriage over life’s circumstances or people’s failures and creates an atmosphere of safety.
The following evaluation is designed to help you assess (1) foundations of healthy conflict, (2) how well you honor differences in marriage, (3) the presence of healthy practices in conflict, (4) red flags in conflict, (5) how well you repent after conflict, and (6) how completely you forgive.
This resource was taken from the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication” seminar. Several of the plumblines from this section of the seminar are:
- Conflict done well can be the best friend of your marriage.
- The best outcome for marital conflict is neither avoidance nor victory, but honor and unity.
- The biggest battle in every conflict is with yourself not your spouse.
- The surest evidence of idolatry is an over-reaction; be sure not to misname it a need.
CREATING A GOSPEL-CENTERED MARRIAGE: COMMUNICATION
Part One: Saturday February 16, 2012
Part Two: Saturday February 23, 2012
Time: 4:00 to 5:30 pm or 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Location: The Summit Church, Brier Creek South Venue
Address: 2415-107 Presidential Drive; Durham, NC 27703