Who Do You Talk to When There’s Conflict in Your Marriage?
By Gina Smith
“Do you have someone that you are able to talk with about marriage?” My husband was spending time with a friend, and the young man was asking him questions about our marriage.
“What do you mean by 'someone to talk with about marriage?'” My husband asked.
“I mean, when you and Gina get into a conflict, who do you go to? Do you have someone to talk to?” He asked.
Without hesitation, my husband answered, “I go to Gina. When we have a conflict in our marriage, the person I talk to is Gina!”
Later the young man shared with me how challenged he was by the conversation he’d had with Brian. It was a concept that was a bit foreign to him because we live in a day and age where we are often led to believe that it is vital to have a group of believers to confide in, or to have accountability with.
Although that can be a really good thing to have, what I have found is that it is not always necessarily a reality. And, if God does allow these kinds of relationships into our lives, they must be kept in their proper place.
Who do you go to?
When a conflict arises within marriage, the first thing we should do to work through the conflict is to go, as soon as possible, to our spouse, with an open Bible and a humble heart.
We are told, in Ephesians 5, that when we get married we commit ourselves to the ultimate accountability relationship. This relationship helps us to grow and be conformed more into the image of Jesus!
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5
We are also encouraged, in Ephesians 4 to “…not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” And in Romans 12 that “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Go to your spouse and go to them as soon as possible in order to solve conflict!
The principles found in Matthew 18 are principles for us to apply to our marriage as well.
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”
The best, first thing that we can do is to follow the principles found in the Word of God. Talk with our spouse first before talking to anybody else. Pray together. Humbly seek God. Ask Him to show you how He wants you to work through the conflict
And what if that doesn’t work?
“But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. “ - Matthew 18:16-17
Although this verse was originally addressing issues within the church with another believer who is in sin, it is a principle for us to follow when dealing with sin and conflict in our relationship with our believing spouse.
Ask God to lead you to some wise, mature, Godly, and trustworthy counselors who uses the Bible as their guide in life and marriage. 2 Timothy 3 tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The scriptures are where we should begin, where we should end, and should be what fills our thought processes in between!
As believers, and as members of the body of Christ, we are called to deal with conflict in a way that honors God. What honors God is written in His word. In His Word is written what we need for life and godliness---and marriage!
Gina Smith is a writer and author who has been married for 31 years to Brian, a college professor and athletic trainer. For the past 20+ years Gina and her husband have served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, and her husband has been a professor and dean of students. They have lived on the campus where they raised both of their now married children. In her spare time, she loves to write, writes for several websites, and recently authored her first book “Grace Gifts: Practical Ways To Help Your Children Understand God's Grace". She also writes at her personal blog: ginalsmith.com.
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