It’s been a while, between battling a nasty cold and getting me head round this cold snap, I went into hibernation for a little while. Trust you’re all doing well and for those in cold regions that you’re coping well.
My post this week is a little controversial as I’m learning that there are differing opinions, it started off as I listened to a preacher talk about marriage, now I’m usually weary of listening to these messages or books on marriages as I’ve often found that most preachers and authors talk from their own personal experiences and then give a fit for all advice which is often not effective, I believe marriages like individuals have its own personality and what works for one couple won’t necessarily work for others. Saying that, I agree that there are general tips that can help a marriage work smoother or any relationship at that.
So back to my preacher, just before I tuned off, I listened to his 1st point about communication, I thought fair enough, some truths in that, then 2nd point was something about sex, it was the 3rd point that stopped me in my tracks, it was “Avoid conflict at all cost”, for a minute I thought I misheard so I paid a bit more attention and the preacher fleshed out his point more, he talked about how conflict relates to wounds and even after the conflict, the scars remain, in my mind I started to think, this preacher is mixing up conflict with fighting. Later, I checked the dictionary for the definition of conflict, there are several but I want to use this one which I’ve always thought is what conflict is “a state of opposition between ideas, interests, etc.; disagreement or controversy” , then I checked the definition of fighting and it is “To attempt to harm or gain power over an adversary by blows or with weapons(note: this could be physical or psychological weapons)”. This preacher has now caused a conflict in my mind !
This issue comes close to home for me because of 2 marriages that sticks out in my mind, one couple I know were always disagreeing, I remembered discussing with another friend as they came close to their wedding whether they should be getting married because every time I see them, they seem to have one gripe or the other with each other, however 6 years on, they seemed to have settled well with one another and being around them these days, you could actually see that they’re closer than ever, it seems to me that through the frequent conflicts, they’ve managed to work out their differences.
The other couple are always sweet on each other, I’ve never ever seen them disagree on anything before so it was with much surprise when I heard they were going their separate ways after a few years.
While I’m not advocating that the first couple were right with their frequent public outburst, I have to say I appreciated the fact that they were not hiding their issues, they discussed them, sometimes they range from silly things as the route they take to church to more serious issues.
I personally believe that conflict is essential to all relationships not just marriage, sometimes in the place of conflict, you get to discuss issues that you have not been able to bring up at other times. Now I want to really distinguish between conflict and fighting here, as the definition above states, conflict is when we disagree in ideas e.t.c, in other words we’re not seeing things from the same point of view, it is inevitable that this will happen in relationships except for relationships where people are not true to themselves or the relationship, fighting on the other hand is the attempt to undermine the other person in a relationship and to get ones way which is what often harms a relationship and even the people in it. Contrary to popular beliefs, conflict should actually bring a relationship closer and make it better rather than it leading to fighting.
Avoiding conflict is not a solution as to how a conflict is handled. If anything I felt the preacher should be saying “do not avoid conflict”, doing so is like covering a fresh wound without administering any treatment, sooner or later, the wound will start to fester and stink, if one is not careful and the wound is not attended to, one may soon lose that part of the body. When a couple avoids conflicts in their marriage, they’re risking losing that marriage. Instead find a conflict resolution that works for you, have a few rules such as being respectful, choosing your words carefully, listen attentively to the other person and do not disregard their hurt no matter how flimsy it may sound to you, apologise. If when you sit down to resolve a conflict, you find things escalating to a fight, be disciplined enough to stop and get back to the issue later, always watch out for a conflict resulting into a fight. If after a conflict resolution discussion, you cannot kiss and make up, that issue is not resolved.
Possibly this is what the bible means when it says “Be angry but do not sin” , naturally having the closest person disagreeing with you especially on issues that you hold close to heart can hurt but giving them the respect that just as you have your opinion, they’re entitled to theirs should be a starting point to reaching a compromise, I interpret being angry in that scripture as conflict and sin as fighting.
As always I don’t want to make the post too long so I’ll leave it here, please let me know your thoughts whether you agree or not, I’d really like to know. Thank you.