No matter how mature, we all face conflicts in our relationship with our spouse or someone else we love. Our level of maturity does affect how we handle the conflict. With God’s help, we can fight for—not against—each other. The following suggestions urge us to fight in an honorable way.
For many people, silence is a common defense when threatened. Some may fear being rejected if they share their true thoughts and feelings. Others may feel hurt or offended and withdraw to protect themselves from more pain. Regardless of what tempts us to shut down, this behavior can further damage our relationships. We break our connection with each other when we stop communicating. Talking, instead of shutting down, is a way to stand up for each other and stay united.
Continuing to talk reaps the most benefits when we speak kindly. According to Proverbs 15:1 (NIV), “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Too often, we let our emotions direct our speech and inflict wounds with words we later regret such as accusations, insults, judgments, and names. (And these are not endearing names like babe or sweetie.) Raising our voice or yelling will also trigger an angry response. If we take a few deep breaths, pray silently, and think before we speak, our words can facilitate a resolution as well as healing.
Handle with Care
Sadly, some people physically fight against each other with their hands. Hitting, pointing fingers, shaking fists, and throwing objects are all abusive actions. Why not use the precious gift of hands, which God has given us, to fight for our loved one? We can reassure them by placing our hand on their hand or patting their shoulder. Offering to hold their hand can signal that we want to work toward a peaceful solution. When all is said with kindness, a warm hug with both hands and arms can be a welcome finishing touch.
Although we will never look forward to conflict, we can expect to handle it better over time as we seek the Lord for wisdom and then apply that wisdom in our situation. We can learn to keep the lines of communication open, speak considerately, and use hand gestures that build trust. Let’s fight for—not against—each other, so we can have the strong, healthy relationships we desire.
What other ways do you suggest we fight for each other?