small__697506354Fight to Win: “I win, you lose / I’m right, you’re wrong.” This is one person trying to dominate the other. It’s the need to triumph. If you’ve never been trained in how to handle hurt and anger, this will be a common response.

Withdraw: “Conflict is uncomfortable so I need to get out of the process.” If we view conflict as having no potential to be fruitful, then we will build a hopeless attitude. Couples who believe this will end up building separate interests to avoid having to spend too much time together. Less time spent together = less potential conflict. Transparency and honesty will diminish.

Yield: “Fine, whatever you want is fine. It’s better than arguing!” In this scenario, a safe feeling is more important than building a close relationship. Yielding may diffuse the immediate issue but it opens the door to harboring bitterness. And the other spouse will then be tempted to take advantage of the passive one. But this is just a major blowup waiting to happen down the road.

Lovingly Confront: “I love you and care enough about you to work on resolving the issues.” Our marriage relationship is of a higher value than winning, being comfortable, or escaping.

Steps to Loving Confrontation:

Look Inward. Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Here are the prerequisites needing to be met prior to addressing the weakness of another: be spiritual, have a spirit of gentleness, make sure you’re not tempted in the same way. Before I confront, I need to check myself to be sure I’m not moving forward in the wrong spirit, in a prideful way.

Pick the Right Time and Place.  A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11

Speak the Truth in Love. “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (Ephesians.4:15)  “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4) Present the truth gently, regarding your spouse’s needs as more important than your own.

Truth without love inflicts injury.Love without truth robs the person of a chance to grow. I need to hear truth that I might embrace an opportunity to change and grow.

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