Julie* smiled at me but her radiant ivories could not hide eyes that hurt. In five years with Curt he had yet to give her flowers. She would drop hints. Once,she shared why her dad gave her mother special plants. But practical Curt mentally pictured shriveled bouquets and concluded why waste money on something that won’t last. Curt did not understand that flowers were not the real issue.
Someone once said, “Some marriages are made in heaven, but they ALL have to be maintained on earth.” How do we improve our relationship with the one we love when we view things so differently? Though the verse below is not directed towards married couples, the principle Paul shares with the Corinthians applies. Aim for perfection! Don’t settle for a divided oneness. Resist giving up when troubles thrash peace.
Amos 3:3--Can two walk together without agreeing to meet?
Steps to Conflict Resolution
1. Accurately identify the problem(s). Often what causes us to inadequately resolve conflict is our preoccupation with symptoms at the expense of grasping the true issue. Consequently, we apply impotent solutions. Curt thought Julie was irritated with him for notbuying flowers and consistently getting home from work late. He would apologize and tell her he loved her. But her need went beyond hearing words. She needed to know she was truly valued; more important than his job.
2. Identify and understand the values that underlie the problem. Julie yearns for tangible demonstrations of love and spending time together. Curt holds to wisely spending money and being a great provider. Both of their values are important and need to be shared and understood. When we understand each other’s values we have a better appreciation for why we do the things we do.
3. Die to self! Love trumps frugality. Isn’t it more important that Curt effectively learn Julie’s love language than save a few dollars? Since she is the one who is hurt, he needs to quit rationalizing his behavior and take the necessary action to honor her. Julie needs to be willing to share her true feelings even though it makes her vulnerable. Dying to self requires putting the needs of others above my own.
4. Be of one mind and live in peace. Without unity peace is hollow and unfulfilling.
a. Ask God for His help in resolving problems remembering that He is with you.
b. Identify and agree upon steps needed to bring resolution. Julie is not asking Curt to bring her flowers every week—that would get expensive! After talking she agrees to be more honest in expressing why she is irritated. He commits to finding creative ways beyond words to demonstrate love and to spending more time with her.
c. Give each other honest feedback and persevere at solving conflict.
There is a story about a man and wife who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary-fifty years of married life. Having spent most of the day with relatives and friends at a big party given in their honor, they were back home again. They decided, before retiring, to have a little snack of tea with bread and butter. They went into the kitchen, where the husband opened up a new loaf of bread and handed the end piece (the heel) to his wife. Whereupon she exploded! She said, "For fifty years you have been dumping the heel of the bread on me. I will not take it anymore; this lack of concern for me and what I like." On and on she went in the bitterest of terms, for offering her the heel of the bread. The husband was absolutely astonished at her tirade. When she had finished he said to her quietly, "But it's my favorite piece."—James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited
©2003 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)