This video segment is one of six presentations in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication” seminar. There will be four more seminars in this series covering the subjects: foundations, finances, decision making, and intimacy. As those presentations are ready they will be posted on this blog.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

GCM Communication Part 4 from Equip on Vimeo.

Evaluation: GCMevaluation_Conflict Resolution

Tool: Conversation Log

Plumb Lines: These are the “sticky” statements that capture the core messages of this chapter.

  • 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.

Memorize: James 4:1-2a, 6 (ESV), “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel… But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “Causes” – We often become so consumed with “what” we think is wrong that we fail to ask “why?”
  • “You” – Read James 1:1 and realize the original readers were people willing to face persecution for their faith.
  • “Passions…. desire” – Conflict done wrong ultimately stems from wanting something bad enough to sin to get it.
  • “War within you” – Our desires are not passive. They fight for fulfillment even at the expense of our loved ones.
  • “Proud… humble” – The key to conflict done well is not a strategy or skill but humility.

“The Bible nowhere calls us to grin and bear it for the sake of the relationship. In fact, I am persuaded that our silence in the face of wrong is not motivated by a desire to love the other well but by not wanting to hassle through the difficult process of kind and loving confrontation. We are silent not because we love our spouse but because we love ourselves, and we do not want to put ourselves through something uncomfortable (p. 93).” Paul Tripp in What Did You Expect?

“Conflict, far from being a sign of moral or marital failure, is God’s chosen means of rescuing his people and destroying sin. Don’t lose sight of this fact: God will rescue us, and marriage, through conflict (p. 141).” Winston Smith in Marriage Matters

“The nature of sin, you see, is war. Sin creates war—war with God, war with others, and war within yourself (p. 46)…. Mercy doesn’t change the need to speak truth. It transforms our motivation (p. 82)…. One thing I’ve learned, if I can avert a two-hour argument with two minutes of mercy, that’s a win for everybody involved (p. 87).” Dave Harvey in When Sinners Say “I Do”

“This failure to show respect is a sign of immaturity more than an inevitable pathway of marriage (p. 57).” Gary Thomas in Sacred Marriage

“Buried expectations can poison a relationship. Unresolved expectations often lead to demands, and demands lead to manipulation. One person maneuvers the other to meet the expectation, while the other tries to avoid it. Inevitably, this leads to isolation in marriage, with two people playing absurd but dangerous games in an attempt to establish control (p. 38-39).” Dennis Rainey (editor) in Preparing for Marriage

“Notice that the things that control your life may not be the things that you pursue but the things you avoid. For instance, rejection can be an idol in the same way as approval (p. 30).” Winston Smith in Marriage Matters

“Trait names and exaggerations work the same way and have a similar effect… Both, in effect, reduce a spouse’s identity to his or her sinful behavior. Trait names and exaggeration communicate, ‘You’re no more and no better than what you’ve just done’ (p. 125)… To sin is to treat people as objects (p. 98).” Winston Smith in Marriage Matters