Remember who the real enemy is

Your Spouse Is Not Your Real Enemy

Part 2 of 2

God created marriage. And He also offers understanding for how we are to move toward resolving conflict as well. No, there’s not a chapter or verse in the Bible entitled, “How to resolve conflict.” But His word is filled with important principles and examples of what healthy resolution and reconciliation could look like.

Use “I” Language

It’s pretty natural when in a conflict, most people tend to blame the other person for all or part of the problem. “Yor said…”, “You did…”, “It’s your fault…”, ‘”You’re the reason for…” Something about the word “you” has a way of putting the other person on the defensive immediately.

A healthier, more effective approach is to use what is often referred to as “I” language. This doesn’t mean you should should take all of the blame, say it’s all your fault, or claim that you’re the reason for the conflict. “I” language is a form of communication in which you speak only of how you perceive or experience the situation, as opposed to what part you think your spouse may have played in it. “I feel lonely when…”, “After what you said, I really felt…”, “My opinion of what happened is…”

Keep The Past In The Past

Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have what it takes to “win” an argument with your spouse. So, it’s not uncommon to drag past hurts and failures into a current conflict or argument. Not only does this not strengthen your case. It humiliates and shames your partner in ways that should have been put to rest long before. If an experience in the past has some redemptive value in the conversation, and does not tear down your spouse, it may have a place in the conversation. If this isn’t the case, it should remain in the past.

“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Matthew 6:15 NIV

Remember Who Really Is The Enemy

There’s something within each of us that can quickly position another person as our enemy if they don’t stand in agreement and support of us. Pride tends to make our view of everything in our lifves through the lens of how it affects us. In Christ, our heart turns from self to Christ, and we come to appreciate the reality that our real enemy is Satan. You begin to see you and your spouse as one unit, battling the enemy together as one unit.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV

Stay At The Table

I envision the stability of a marriage and family through the analogy of each member sitting in their place around a table in the center of the home. Husband and wife side-by-side on one side of the table, not across from each other. And the children around the table, but not across from their mom and dad.

In marital conflict, there are some crucial boundaries that you must abide by in order to preserve and strengthen the relationship. Stay at the table. When anger, disagreement, frustration, and myriad other emotions are telling you to do otherwise, stay at the table. Don’t turn inward. Don’t emotionally leave the table. Don’t tell your spouse to leave the table. Don’t bring others (figuratively) to the table in hopes of fortifying your position against your spouse. Don’t flip the table over. Don’t sit across from your spouse at the table. STAY AT THE TABLE!

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