For twenty-six years of my life, I thought I was a peacemaker. I was almost never in a fight except when I ended up in the middle of a fight I was trying to stop.
The first sign of conflict in a relationship was usually the beginning of the end – and basically none my relationships even made it past the “honeymoon phase”.
Then, I found my love and got married four years ago. I had known my husband for four short months before “tying the knot”, so after the very first conflict, I instinctively wanted to slam the door and run away. However, the realization hit me hard: this time I had to find a way back. Running was not an option.
There is a very fine line between being a peacemaker and someone who simply avoids conflict.
Four years and many inevitable conflicts later (add moving seven times to three different countries and figure in a one-year-old baby as well), I’m still learning much about myself and relationships.
Living in a country where “saving face” is everything, l am virtually surrounded by people practicing “conflict avoidance”. Therefore, I have plenty of opportunities to observe that simply trying to avoid a problem or trying to pretend that it doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away.
From experience, I’ve learned that fighting is not the way to resolve these conflicts because fighting stems from a desire to prove we’re right, rooted in our own selfishness, fears, intolerance, or unrealistic expectations.
I’m not proud of the way I react when I feel insulted, angry, or hurt. Emotional turmoil of any kind is the breeding ground for regrets. And, the simple reason I’m sharing this is certainly nor because I think I’ve figured it out, but because I believe I’m not the only one struggling.
I know it’s easier to blame the other person or even the circumstances during conflict. I know all about making excuses and defending myself. I know it’s so hard to be the first to say “I’m sorry” and actually mean it. I know the temptation to find a way out by quitting a relationship; and I also know that a Godly marriage doesn’t leave us with that option.
So, by His grace, we stay together, and we pray and learn that the capacity for forgiveness depends on love.
And so, I’m becoming more and more convinced that Jesus is not only the only way to the Father – He is also our only hope of finding our way back to each other.
In an attempt to remember the lessons I’ve learned, I’ve decided to write them down… and to share them with you. (Please feel free to add what you have learned in the comment section of this post)
– You can win a fight and lose at your relationship.
– Even if you are “right”, everything you say to prove it might come out “wrong”
– If you’re wrong, nothing you can say will make it right. In other words, defending yourself is pointless.
– The only real power we have when it comes to fighting is the freedom to choose to forgive… Every. Single Time.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” – Matthew 6:12
– Fights often have a pattern, and if the underlying issue isn’t resolved, it is very likely to repeat itself.
– Sometimes husbands simply have to love their wives and wives have to submit to their husbands…not because we feel like they deserve to be respected or loved, but simply because it is what God expects of us.
– At some point, we have to decide to stop fighting with each other and to start fighting for each other, because, in the end, that is the only fight in marriage that is worth anything.
– Remember: your spouse is never the enemy, although the true enemy would like us to believe that, unless you are unequally yoked – which is a battle of a different kind – remember that you are actually fighting on the same side.
– In the end, there is really only one position to effectively fight and win. That is, fighting on our knees.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – “Ephesians 6:12
Let’s stop fighting with each other and take up our places alongside each other in the real battle. Fighting the good fight.
’Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.’ – 1 Timothy 6:12