Call me crazy, but I think these posts have a message within their messages. One I hadn't thought of or considered before.
I sat down to write this post and started skimming back through the Diamond in the Rough Scripture series, and as I did, I suddenly realized I had no idea how easily conflict can enter a marriage or how difficult it is to scoot it out the door once its arrived.
I started thinking about my own marriage and how easily conflict can take over. The days of lovingly looking at each other and accepting one another's shortcomings can slip away quickly. Offering forgiveness and grace to the one we love can easily be dismissed and the joy that marriage is supposed to bring can seem impossible to obtain.
Why do we open the door to conflict? This isn't a guest we want to invite into our marriage, so why do we open the door?
The answer is, no one wants to open the door. No one wants to let conflict in; we often just leave the door open and conflict waltzes right in. (see Ephesians 4: 27)
You see, every time we act selfishly, are unforgiving, bitter, angry, resentful, proud, or short tempered toward our spouse, we crack the door just a little.
When we take for granted, don't listen to, or ignore the needs of our spouse, we push the door open a bit more. These are just a few things that unknowingly invites conflict into our marriages.
Eventually, there's a door that's open wide enough for conflict to come on in and make itself at home in our marriages.
Simply put, our actions and attitudes are a huge factor in how our marriages work or don't work.
Ephesians 4: 29
Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.
Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).
♥ I'm guilty of giving my Mr. Right the worst of me. After a long day at work, I turn into the cousins of the seven dwarfs: Snotty, Condemner, Grumbler, and Complainer. The truth is when we talk to our spouses we should be doing and saying things that lift them up, encourages their spiritual progress. I don't see anything wrong with sharing our woes with our spouses, venting if you will, but when that's all we give them, we're asking for conflict to walk on in. Do you show your spouse the you they deserve?
♥ I know my Mr. Right loves me and regardless of how I treat him, he is probably going to still love me. Conflict wears us both out, but still we can be less than warm to one another. Our spouses deserve the best us! The same respect we show the outside world should not be something we put away as soon as we walk through our doors. Heading conflict off at the pass can be as simple as showing our spouses more than our frustrations or complaints. Do you allow a true and genuine respect to shine through toward your spouse?
And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.
♥ There are times when I hold a grudge. I know, I know, hard to believe, right? My Mr. Right probably thinks I'm from an elephant family because I never forget. I'm guilty of bringing up old occurrences and will often use words like 'always' and 'never'. True forgiveness hasn't happened. One of the most difficult things we are called to do is to forgive. Learning forgiveness opens our hearts, can free us from past hurts, and allows us to move forward with our spouses. What do you need to forgive?
Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.
♥ I stink at change! I like to think I'm a roll-with-it kind of gal, but reality is, I buck anything that takes me away from my comfort zone. Change IS inevitable! Doesn't matter where we go, things change. Ending a cycle of conflict in our marriages is going to require change. Even if only one of us is doing the changing. It takes putting on a new attitude, a new thought process, a new self. Renewing who we are according to Ephesians 4:24, starts with what and how we think. How can you change how and what you think within your marriage?
There are lots of things a couple can do to safe guard their relationship, here we discovered just a few simple steps to begin taking.
♥ Attitudes and actions make a difference and either open or close the door to conflict.
♥ Our spouses deserve better than our left overs, best foot forward (Ephesians 4:29)
♥ A true and genuine respect toward our spouse is vital, be the best you toward your spouse. (Ephesians 4:31)
♥ Forgive, enough said. (Ephesians 4: 32)
♥ Changes to the way we think and to what we think about our spouses and relationship. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
God is very clear about how we are to act and what our attitudes should be. I'm challenging both you and I to reach for those things God calls us to do.
Conflict is going to happen in our relationship, but it's much better for it to visit and leave, than to set up permanent residence. Watch those doors!