Resolving Conflict

Volume Two Chapter Five of my book covers this subject, which most people find difficult.

Here is your free taster; the opening ten paragraphs of the chapter…

‘When I was an adolescent fifteen year old year old boy, I thought I knew everything.

Today, fifty years later, I realise I still have a lot to learn!  And when I compare my knowledge with that of God, then I really do realise how tiny and insignificant my knowledge is. After all, in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 25 we read this,

‘The foolishness of God [is not foolishness at all and] is wiser than men [far beyond human comprehension], and the weakness of God is stronger than men [far beyond the limits of human effort].’ (AMP)

That Scripture brings me down to earth.

I left school and went to work at the age of sixteen as an engineering apprentice, and noticed that the men I worked with actually knew a lot more about mechanical things than I did, and a lot more about life too! They would sometimes talk about their wives and the issues they had in their marriages. Those issues, they would say, were of course always the fault of their wife (!)

At eighteen, I started courting, and was married at the age of 22.

28 years later, that marriage ended. I was shocked and heartbroken. I had no idea anything major was wrong with our relationship. As a result, I now find myself constantly warning men who think they are happily married,

“Watch Out, I thought I was happily married too; don’t take your wife or your marriage for granted.  Keep working at it.”

Why do things go wrong? In case you haven’t noticed, we live in a fallen world.

Despite what you think, you are not perfect.  Your wife isn’t, either. In his book What Did You Expect*, Paul David Tripp puts it far better than I. He says this...

‘Most of the troubles we face in marriage are not intentional or personal.  In most marriage situations, you do not face difficulty because your spouse intentionally did something to make your life difficult.  Yes, in moments of anger that may happen.  But most often, what is really happening is that your life is being affected by the sin, weakness, and failure of the person you are living with.  So, if your wife is having a bad day, that bad day will splash up on you in some way.  If your husband is angry with his job, there is a good possibility that he will bring that anger home with him.’

Tripp then says something very profound:

‘God loves your spouse, and he is committed to transforming him or her by his grace, and he has chosen you to be one of his regular tools of change.  So, he will cause you to see, hear, and experience your spouse’s need for change so that you can be an agent of his rescue.’

My wife Michele has known this truth for some time and puts it into effect far better than me. She is regularly sharing with me in private, the behaviour or speech I exhibit from time to time which is ungodly.  I don’t always like to hear the truth about myself, especially from my wife, and on many occasions it has caused me to get annoyed with her or sulk like a child for a while.  God’s grace has enabled her to live with my childish behaviour.  When I read the above paragraph some time ago in Tripp’s book, it was as if God switched a light on in my spirit.  It was only really then that I realised God was using Michele to help try to correct me, because He loves us all so much, and He wants our lives to be joyful and to bring glory to Him.  We do not bring glory to God when we behave in an ungodly manner! So, when there are conflicts in our relationships, how do we deal with them?’

One of the key things I discuss in this important chapter is the difference between a peace-keeper and a peace-maker.  I highlight two key Scriptures, link them, unpack them and go on to give a framework and example of how best to resolve conflict between you and your spouse.  The principles also apply to resolving conflict that may arise between you and any person, irrespective of the relationship - or otherwise - between the other party and you.

*You can click the link to Tripp’s book on the ‘Books and Links’ page of this web site.