By Kermit Rowe, Encompass Relationship Facilitator
A recent email blast from Family Life came into my inbox asking a question that immediately caught my attention: “Between you and your spouse, who is the one who typically wins arguments?”
The go-to gut reaction for many of us tends to be a lengthy (or maybe not so lengthy) review of the scorecard we tend to keep of our most recent series of arguments – at least the ones we remember. Why is it so important that we win? Because we want things to go our way, and we are willing to forfeit temporarily a little bit of peace and harmony to get what we want. Besides. nobody likes to lose. Right?
That led me to another question: “When we win, do we really win?”
The answer to that one lies in how you argue, not how it ends up being resolved. In relationships, especially close ones, it’s not the destination that’s important, it’s the journey. If the process is dishonoring, the end result can’t be good in the long run.
Do you ever notice that arguments are rarely spiritual? They tend to push us into “full flesh” mode, and we see nothing but the issue as we think we see it and the one we are arguing with who is always wrong. We never think about God when we argue, unless we choose to wield the double-edged sword of God’s Word to try to prove our point.
If our marriage is supposed to be modeled after the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church, then when we attack and belittle, we are not only hurting each other. We are also dishonoring the marriage God gave us, and the love He blessed us with.
Speaking of the double-edged sword of Scripture, there’s a portion in the New Testament that is often quoted during weddings to describe the qualities of true love: I Cor. 13:1-4. In fact, it is known by many as “The Love Chapter.” But it also reminds us that we can do everything right and still gain nothing if we don’t prioritize love.
I know. It’s hard to feel love when we are angry. But the Bible says love is not a feeling, it is a decision that leads to an action. We decided to marry this person who loved us enough to give themselves to you till death do you part. We said that decision would be honored for better or for worse. Then we verbally and emotionally assault the one human being we love the most in this world – the one who is mysteriously half of us.
The Family Life email blast that posed the original question went on to point out that conflict is an opportunity to honor God. And here is how we can overcome ourselves to do that:
Isn’t it funny that these are the same ways that we should love God, who loves us unconditionally?
Do you consistently feel as if you are "losing" in your relationships? Encompass Connection Center helps couples learn how to resolve issues and create productive, fulfilling relationships. Get started today, by scheduling a complimentary 15-30 min courtesy chat with Lavern!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.