Day 13
"Love Fights Fair"

"If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
(Mark 3:25)

Conflict? In a marriage? Yes, it's inevitable (and normal). After all, we're dealing with two different personalities from two different backgrounds - and potentially two different viewpoints. So what do you do? You "fight fair". Conflict between a husband and wife - when not handled properly - can create job distractions and perhaps guilt. So let's take the time to get smart on this crucial issue.

What you do is address conflict from a "nuts and bolts" stand-point. In other word, here's how you do it - here's how you get through conflict with dignity. It's impressive, and worth passing along in summary. Married couples who learn to work through conflict tend to be closer, more trusting, more intimate, and enjoy a much deeper connection afterwards. In other words, getting through an argument may have lasting benefits beyond just the immediate. It'll be worth it if you study this and take this challenge.

Basically, in approaching conflict by defining boundaries as "we" boundaries and "me" boundaries. By "we" boundaries means "we don't" rules: don't ever mention divorce; don't bring up the past that is unrelated; don't fight in public or in front of the children; don't let conflict escalate to a "damaging level", don't physically hurt each other; don't go to bed angry; don't give up at resolving the issue.

The "me" are those things that "you do": do listen before speaking; do examine your own issues; do speak gently. We all know that we cannot change others - only ourselves. So these three "dos" are so important. Listen carefully, realize that the problem might be you, and speak quietly.

These are great "rules of engagement". And if followed, there is every possibility that love will win. And it will be worth it. "Remember, love is not a fight, but it is always worth fighting for."

Please spend some time "talking" with your wife about these boundaries and establish healthy rules for conflict. If it is not possible to discuss these together, make an individual list by which you will abide in the future when conflict arises.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:19,20)

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way."
(Psalm 37:23)

There are many tests that we can apply to the voices we may be hearing. One test is the test of His Word. God will never lead us in a direction that is contrary to what the Bible teaches. Another test is to seek out wise, godly counsel. Find someone who you trust AND who has a proven record of a spiritually fruitful life, evidence that they live in obedience to God and His Word. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15) One other test for discerning God's voice is the test of peace. This is the test of the internal guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The distinguishing thing about the peace that God produces by His Spirit is that you may not be able to describe it, but you always know when you don't have it!

Prayer: God, I thank You that You are faithful to lead me. Help me to grow in the knowledge of Your Word and provide people from whom I can receive wise counsel. Give me a teachable heart. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Micah 6:8 ... How do the desired qualities in this verse manifest themselves in your own life? In other words, what does it "look like" to act justly, walk humbly, and love mercy at this point on your journey? What or who are the greatest challenges you face in being a more just, humble, and merciful person?

God Bless - and may He keep you and your family safely under His wings. -
The Dove Alliance