Rev. E. Anderson
HOW TO RESOLVE CONFLICT WITH YOUR SPOUSE (PART 2)
by Rick Warren
“Live together in harmony, live together in love, as though you had only one mind and one spirit between you … in humility think more of each other than you do of yourselves” – Philippians 2:3-4 (PH)
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If you’re going to pull together when you’re pulled apart, you have to:
Convene a peace conference. Conflict does not resolve itself. It must be dealt with intentionally. Conflict gets worse when you leave it alone. Jesus says don’t ignore it. Deal with the issue while you can. If you’ve got something wrong with somebody or they’ve got something wrong with you, God says you go to them.
When? At once. Postponed conflict only gets worse. Another verse in the Bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” – Ephesians 4:26 HCSB. I think that means 24 hours would be the maximum amount of time you should let something go unresolved. You need to settle it as soon as possible, before it festers and turns into bitterness.
Consider my mate’s perspective. I can’t just look at my own viewpoint, my own situation; I have to look at your viewpoint too. This is very difficult because it’s not natural. It requires an intentional shift where I have to change my focus from looking at my needs to looking at your needs. It takes God to do that.
When you understand where people are coming from, it’s so much easier. The better you understand your mate, the less conflict you’re likely to have with him or her.
How do you learn to understand your spouse? Listen. Listen more than you talk. This again is not easy for many of us. It’s not easy for me. Some of us get so anxious to make our point, to tell our side, to defend ourselves that we don’t even stop to listen to the other person’s point of view or what they are saying.
You are most like Christ when you ask, “What are her/his needs and how can I meet them?” When you’re angry, you’re preoccupied with yourself. But when you’re like Christ, you look to each other’s interests and not merely your own. One of the most powerful peacemaking statements you can say to your husband/wife is, “I’m sorry. I was only thinking of myself.”