Marriage Ref – Managing The Conflict Clock

We had such an incredible response to the message today on conflict in marriage that I thought I’d post the key points with a few added notes and also encourage you to listen to the podcast on our website     The podcast should be up by Monday.

Everyone has some conflict in their marriage.  Janet and I have been married nearly 33 years, but are normal people and experience conflicts from time to time.   However, we are committed to working out our conflicts in the way God directs because we are committed to each other.   As I stated today – I’m committed to Janet FOR LIFE because: a) I love Christ and committed to His plan for my life & marriage, b) I love my wife and my kids, c) if I ever messed up I’d fear the judgment of God and loss of His blessing as a leader/pastor.    Jesus tells me to love her like He loves the Church; I don’t always succeed, but that’s my goal & plan.

Some people have their own ideas about marriage – some listen to everyone else – but yet marriages (even in the church) are IN TROUBLE.   So don’t you think it’s time to try God’s Plan – to let Him be the Marriage Ref who will help you make all the right calls in your relationship! 

Many marriages dissolve over the issue of not knowing how to handle conflict; it doesn’t matter whether it’s about finances, sex, the kids, or something else.  Jesus said (John 10:10) that Satan is our enemy who comes to kill, steal and destroy; ie – he wants to destroy your marriage, family and life.  After many years in ministry, one of the things I’ve found this enemy uses is unresolved conflicts.  You have a fight with your spouse – it’s not resolved – you have another fight – it continues — eventually one of you shares your frustrations with a past or present friend of the opposite sex and all of a sudden you’ve got an affair in the making.   Never share your frustrations and emotional feelings about your spouse with someone of the opposite sex unless that sharing is with a Christian Counselor in a controlled setting.  In fact, I just learned on Saturday that a couple Janet and I knew and were friends with for 5 years are on the verge of a divorce.  They are believers and have 2 wonderful children, but for some reason the wife sought the counsel of a past friend who was a man; one thing led to another and now they’ve had an affair and it started on Facebook.  Facebook didn’t start the affair; the wife and this man did, but their contact through FB was one of the things Satan used to try and destroy this marriage.   We’re praying for them and asking God to save this marriage.    Janet and I use social media, but in light of this situation and others we’re aware of –  I told our folks at Grace today that Janet and I are combining our FB accounts and I’d encourage them to do the same thing.   In a healthy relationship you shouldn’t keep things from one another;  Janet and I know each other’s password for email – our iPhones are open to each other – and now our FB account is one and the same so that anything written to friends is seen by both of us. 

So here are a few tips on how to MANAGE the conflict clock in marriage based on principles found in Ephesians 4:25-32 and other passages.

MAINTAIN HONESTY   (Eph 4:25 & Prov. 27:5-6)   If you can’t be honest with your mate – you are in trouble.  If you struggle with this get some help from another ref – a Christian Counselor that will help you work through your issues.   1 Cor. 13 is used in many weddings as a definition of “real love” which among many things – DELIGHTS IN THE TRUTH.

ATTACK THE PROBLEM NOT THE PERSON  (Eph 4:31-32 & Prov 18:7)

NEVER LEAVE THE GARBAGE LYING AROUND  (Eph 4:29)  Forgive the past and release it forever.  Send garbage to the garbage dump and leave it there forever.  Don’t get “historical” in the midst of a conflict.

ALWAYS LOOK FOR POSITIVE SOLUTIONS  (Eph 4:28)   Ephesians 4:28 relates to the purpose for work, but in this verse there’s a principle to consider.  A person has been doing something wrong and God says quit doing what’s wrong and start doing something positive so you can be blessed and bless others.    Anyone can find something wrong with just about anything, but it takes real genuis to find and work on positive solutions.    One key to doing this is………….

GET FILLED WITH GOD’S SPIRIT   (Eph 5:18)   If you submit your life to God and let Him control you and your spouse does the same thing, you’ll have very few conflicts because Christ won’t fight with Christ and when you submit to God and let Him control you – you’ve put Jesus on the throne of your life.  I believe every fight Janet and I have is the result of not submitting ourselves to God.  When you submit yourself fully to Christ you won’t be selfish, self-centered or full of pride which is one of the roots of most conflict.

END FIGHTS CORRECTLY  (Eph. 4:32 & Prov. 16:24)  When you have a fight, end it correctly.  Be Kind – show them the same type grace God has shown you.  Be Compassionate – that means be tender-hearted.  Forgive – release the wrong and let it go – offer the same forgiveness to them that God offers you in Christ.

Here are a couple of books that are great on dealing with Conflict.

About bjrutledge

BJ & Janet were married in July 1977 They have three grown children who are all married: Jeremy & Whitney Rutledge, Chris & Julie Hurst, and Josh and Hannah Rutledge. They also have five grandsons, and a granddaughter. BJ says perhaps our greatest legacy is even though our kids are PK's, they love Jesus and are all involved in ministry in the local church. BJ has served at churches in Dallas - Bossier City, LA - Houston - and was at Fellowship of the Woodlands (Woodlands Church) in The Woodlands before coming to Grace Fellowship. BJ is the Legacy Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, TX.
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