There have been times when I’ve heard people make two “cringe-worthy” statements about conflict . . .
a) My spouse and I never argue/fight or have conflicts.
b) It’s always best to avoid conflict in marriage.
Today I’m continuing my series on how to develop a “soft heart” in life and marriage that will debunk those myths, as well as give you a tool for “pulling away after a conflict,” that will prove to give you greater perspective and, best of all, a softer heart.
So let me begin by telling you why those statements are untrue . . .
In reference to a) . . .
If you and your spouse never encounter a conflict in marriage, then I think that somebody in that relationship is not being honest with how he/she feels. If that’s occurring, then a “hard heart” is just a few deceptive and hidden conflicts away, since continual deception and withholding is a marriage killer and heart hardener.
I’m not a fan of arguing per se, but if and when it occurs, it really isn’t as detrimental as you might think—if we follow up any arguments by prayerfully pulling away for reflection. That’s why I’m sharing my “reflection tool” for that purpose. The reflection tool can be a fast track to a softer heart!
On to my “cringing” of b) . . .
If my husband and I took the tack of always avoiding conflicts, then I think we’d never experience the intimacy, perspective and friendship that we now enjoy with each other . . . Nor would we experience the intimacy, wisdom and faith that is ours in our relationship with God!
That’s because . . .
Of course, that’s only if we let Him do that work in our heart as we seek His clarity, truth and perspective during and after each conflict.
So let me ask you two questions . . .
1. How many times have you purposefully examined a conflict you’ve had with your mate afterwards in an effort to zero in on what “you alone” need to do differently and better going forward?
2. How often do you seek God’s perspective on how you acted and what you believed in that conflict with your mate during and immediately following any argument or conflict?
If you answered “never” or “not very often” to those questions, then put my reflection tool into your “tool belt” and the next time you have a conflict or even a tense moment with your spouse, use it!
But fair warning! Use this tool fairly quickly afterwards. If you put it aside for longer than a week and think you’ll come back to it later when you have more time, you’ll either forget to do it, or forget what it was you were fighting about in the first place! 😉 On the other hand, you might want to move slowly through the questions, giving your emotions and heart time to calm down so that you can listen to and absorb all that God wants to say to you through this reflection process.
The bottom line?
If you use this “tool” regularly and honestly after a fight with your mate, the process can soften your heart.
That is, if you allow God to do that work in and through you.
Surrendering to God is the only way to truly soften your heart, my friend! And if you don’t know what surrendering looks like, read my last post “Feel Like Giving Up on a Bad Marriage” that explains what surrendering involves and does for you.
Also, if you’d like to read the other posts in this “soft heart” series, click here.
What is one insight you’ve gained after examining a conflict with your spouse or others?
What fears or doubts do you harbor regarding conflicts in relationships?
Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Nanahood, Moments of Hope, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.
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