Category Archives: Conflict

Silly Conflict, Serious Conviction

I used to think I was a merciful person, that I treated other people the way I want to be treated, but I have come to realize these thoughts were merely delusions of goodness.

My husband went into the bathroom after I had brushed my teeth.  He called me into the room and in an annoyed tone showed me the splashes of water I had left on the wall by the sink. I replied, “So what?”

He sarcastically answered, “It leaves marks on the wall.”

“They wipe off with a damp rag.  It’s not a permanent mark; so wipe it all off, if it bugs you, ”  I angrily retorted.

I couldn’t let this go.  I had to escalate the situation.  It wasn’t fair.  The mercy I had been extending to him wasn’t being returned.  “I hate it when you use a kleenex once and leave it sitting on a surface to be used again.  It’s not sanitary, but rather than remind you, I throw it away and then wash my hands.”   I went on to give him several other examples of my long suffering as his wife, of all the grace I had been extending to him, the grace he was not returning.

A few days later, I became convicted that my behavior and attitudes were not fitting for a wife who follows Jesus.  Rather than giving mercy away because I would like to receive it, I was giving mercy to get mercy.  My motive was impure, self-seeking.  I remembered the words from I Corinthians 13 about love not keeping a record of wrongs.  I had been ignoring behaviors, but wasn’t being able to list them quickly in a heated moment, evidence that I had been keeping a record of wrongs, evidence I was not loving my husband?

Next time, with the Spirit’s help,  I hope I will say to my husband,  “I’m sorry.  I will wipe the water off the wall.”

Father, thank you for showing me my lack of mercy, my lack of love.  Forgive me.  Please make me like your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

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Sarah’s Daughter

I was born the daughter  of an alcoholic, and the home I grew up in bred fear.  I learned to avoid fear by control.  That need to control everything threatened the harmony in my marriage, but God rescued my marriage by calling me to become Sarah’s daughter, to become like her by doing what was right and not giving way to fear.  (See I Peter 3.)

What did Sarah do that was right?   How did Sarah not give way to fear?   She obeyed Abraham, her husband,  when he made a choice that put her in a fear producing situation.  (See Genesis 12:10-20.)  God delivered Sarah from that situation miraculously, for Sarah’s hope was in God, not in Abraham.

I became more quiet and gentle in my soul and in my relationship with my husband, as I became more acquainted with the trustworthiness of of my God and transferred the wellspring of my hope from my husband to him.    That hope enabled me to yield to my husband, as to the Lord and for the Lord’s sake.   I learned to first assertively speak the truth in love to my husband about decisions before us and then to yield to him.  Sometimes I have slipped back to the old way of control and disharmony, but the discomfort of fear and anxiety have been powerful motivators to return to the way of peace.

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Spiritual Conflict

In chapter 13 of Beginning Again*,  I wrote about the spiritual conflict that existed in the heavenly realm over my marriage.  I shared how an intercessor battled in prayer for the preservation and restoration of the relationship between me and my husband.  Yahweh Nissi, The Lord My Banner, answered that prayer and saved my marriage.

In Praying the Names of God,  Ann Spangler said.  “When you pray to Yahweh Nissi you are praying to the God who is powerful enough to overcome any foe.”  She included this prayer: “Lord, I thank you for raising your standard over me.  Today, as I face spiritual battles of many kinds, help me to be confident of your protection, to fight with your power, to prevail in your strength.  Yahweh Nissi, may your victory be total and complete, destroying whatever stands in the way of your plans and purposes. Amen”

If you are praying for your own marriage or the marriage of someone else, be encouraged and keep praying the name of Yahweh Nissi.

*See the book page of this website

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Spiritual Conflict

Lake Michigan,  Escanaba, Michigan's Upper Pennisula

I took this picture of the Sand Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan in Escanaba, Michigan, last month.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” John 9:5
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

The enemy of our souls waged war against our marriage.  The darkness was great during that spiritual conflict.  I was glad that the words of Jesus were the light that penetrated our darkness.  I have shared our battle on the book page of this website.  I recently enjoyed listening to the music and lyrics, Hold Us Together, by Matt Maher: “cause even in the dark, you can still see the light – it’s going to be alright – it’s going to be alright”.   May the Light of the Lord Jesus rescue you from any darkness you are in the midst of.

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Conflict Resolution Steps

Managing conflict in my marriage has been complicated by the fact that my husband and I approach the resolution from different angles.  He has wanted to have a rational debate and prove why his opinion is right.  I have wanted to have an intimate conversation about what I am feeling and what is motivating me on an emotional level.

Perhaps both approaches are each half of a whole in conflict resolution steps.   Forging a solution that is wise necessitates exploring facts and thinking clearly.   Forging a solution agreeable to both parties necessitates understanding the other’s feelings and emotional needs.   Do you think both approaches are steps needed to resolve a conflict successfully?

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Small Church Spiritual Conflict

Many years ago my husband was a pastor.   He served two small churches.   Cultural issues spawned conflict.  In one church the people were suspicious of outsiders and afraid of change.  We were outsiders, and we advocated some changes.  They approached conflict in a confrontational way that was not compatible with my husband’s style of coping and resolution.  In the other church the people did not want to rock the boat and kept the peace at all costs.  Their expectations were not verbalized or communicated.  These cultural issues made it difficult for my husband to do the work of the ministry and made him vulnerable to failure.   Ultimately his expectations and mode of operation were in opposition to the leadership and collision bound.   In my story, Beginning Again, (see the book page of this blog) I share how the small church spiritual conflict impacted our marriage adversely.

 

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Conflict Resoultion Steps

My husband and I walked to the creek in our neighborhood earlier this week.  With the spring run off, the water is deep and thunderous, as it rushes down to the nearby lake.  We stood and watched as a large chunk of ice, churning in the waters, was slammed up against the culvert and broke into pieces.

Once upon a time, many Springs ago when our marriage was in crisis, my husband stood on a bridge and looked down on a brook as the ice was melting and breaking away.  He became convicted that his heart had become like that ice, cold and hard.  He confessed the state of his heart to God and cried out to his Savior to melt and heal it.  His conviction and confession were some of the conflict resolution steps that he walked to restore his relationship with me.  Read about this restoration by clicking the book page tab on this blog.

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Spiritual Conflict and The Death of a Marriage

Spring is early this year.  I am delighted to see that yesterday’s steady, gentle rain washed away much of the dirty snow.  My husband and I can now see some earth and brush beneath the trees in the woodlands that surround our home.  Today it is sunny and unseasonably warm.  At this pace, it won’t be long before new life bursts forth with green leaves and the first wild flowers.

Many winters ago our marriage had died a slow death from an unresolved spiritual conflict.  It was spiritual, by my definition, because our hard hearts and stubborn pride fed the conflict and prevented its resolution.  That spring new life came to our marriage by the washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit.  (See Titus 3:5)  You can read about the death and resurrection of our marriage by clicking the book page tab on this blog.

 

 

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