Settling Conflicts in the Home (Part 1)
Conflicts arise in every home. Some happen in marriages. Some will occur between siblings. There will also be conflicts between parents and children.
We are primarily talking about conflicts in marriage, but many of the same principles apply to all of our other relationships. Those who are spiritual will work towards resolving those issues.
What are conflicts?
The word conflict means “contention, strife, fighting, collision, opposition, striking against each other.”
Most conflicts begin verbally. If they are not dealt with properly, they can lead to wrong actions and even physical confrontations.
A husband and wife do not usually begin screaming at each other the moment one walks through the door.
A full-blown argument usually stems from a small disagreement.
Proverbs 12:18 – Some people just seem to cut like a sword whenever they speak.
Proverbs 18:6 – It is the fool that enters into contention. Remember that the next time you want to start an argument – you fool!
18:7 – This will lead to destruction.
How do conflicts arise?
Misconduct What I mean by misconduct is our own, not our spouse’s.
Years ago, I asked my church to give me some causes for conflicts within marriages. Most people gave reasons that were the other person’s fault.
When there is a fight, we usually think it is the other person’s fault, but in many cases we are the ones to blame or at least partially at fault.
1 Corinthians 3:3 – When you live a carnal, fleshly life, you are prone to be a person filled with strife. Remember that strife is conflict.
E.g. Coming home with a rotten attitude and getting upset at one small problem. You have overlooked the 20 good things your spouse has done, but your carnal attitude won’t give praise. Instead you create an argument that does not need to happen. Why? Carnal people are filled with strife!
Galatians 5:19-20 – Strife is listed as one of the sins of the flesh! You are more prone to be argumentative when in the flesh.
The longer you hold onto your carnal sins, the longer you are going to have strife in the house.
E.g. – If you listen to fleshly music, you are in the flesh. The music you listen is filled with strife, and you will be too.
E.g. – A woman who watches the “soaps” is carnal, and she will learn to respond the way the people on the screen do. The same is true of those who watch other worldly videos or shows. Even women who read romance novels with allow their flesh to dictate their actions.
E.g. – A man is carnal and lusts after other women. He comes home and complains about how his wife looks. His carnality stirs up strife.
Being carnal includes gossiping, covetousness, selfishness, worldliness, etc. All of these things can lead to strife in the marriage.
Proverbs 15:28 – When you have an evil heart you are going to pour out evil things from your mouth!
Remember that strife is a product of the flesh.
When you have conflict in your marriage, take a look at your life before you start pointing fingers!
Misunderstandings Many conflicts arise because you don’t understand how each other thinks.
Learn to spend much time talking and getting to know one another.
Compensate for your spouse’s natural tendencies.
E.g. – A wife sees something on sale and thinks her husband would want her to buy it. He sees it and gets angry. She was trying to please him, but he didn’t see it that way.
James 3:16 – Sometimes confusion arises just because someone has strife in their heart. It is a simple misunderstanding that leads to a conflict. Some people are prone to be filled with strife, which really means that they are prone to walking in the flesh.
Miscommunication Sometimes you don’t hear one another clearly. You thought he said, “Yeah,” but he really said, “Nah.” (Uh huh or Nuh uh can sound a lot alike from another room)
Learn to answer in clear sentences rather than with sounds!
Many fail to speak clearly when saying “did” and “didn’t.” In many cases they sound exactly the same because someone failed to pronounce the “n’t” at the end. It makes a big difference.
Mt 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Colossians 4:6 – Know how to answer one another.
Be clear with your answer. If you mean “No,” then be clear about it.
Avoid non-committal answers. This leaves your response wide open to interpretation.
Mistakes Sometimes conflicts arise because someone made an honest mistake, but the other person is not willing to understand or forgive.
E.g. – A wife might be trying to diligently clean the house and comes across something that seems to be junk. She throws it away. Two weeks later the husband asks her where his treasured possession is. She tells him she thought it was junk and tossed it, and he explodes in a rage. Now they are heading for a big fight. She fails to apologize, but rather says, “You have so much other junk around the house that I thought it was junk, too.” Now the husband is ready to throw something of value of hers away. What a mess!
E.g. – The wife asks her husband to pick something up for her while he is in town. He gets busy, forgets, and comes home without the item. The wife sees that he has the things he went to pick up and says, “I see that you took care of yourself. Did you get what I asked for?” Before he can answer, she says, “I only asked you to get one thing, but you were only thinking about yourself.” This is not going to end in a nice evening!
Nobody in the marriage is perfect, and we all make mistakes. Getting upset and bent out of shape is not going to fix things.
Unfortunately, simple mistakes lead to big arguments. Why? Selfishness. Carnality.
Sometimes husband and wife stop talking to each other because they won’t settle their dispute.
They let the sun go down upon their wrath. They go to bed angry and get up the same way. It is going to be a long week!
1 Peter 4:8 – Fervent charity towards each other will certainly overlook one another’s mistakes. It is a lack of love that turns a mistake into a conflict.
Misleading Other conflicts are not so innocent in their origin. There are times that real harm is meant.
Colossians 3:9 – Lying is a most hideous sin, and it seems even worse when it enters into a marriage. Those who have been lied to feel betrayed.
There are times that a husband or wife actually try to deceive one another. It is usually to cover up another sin that they don’t want to be discovered.
Proverbs 19:5 – When you tell a lie, be sure your sin will find you out. Realize that your action is going to bring a conflict later when the lie is discovered.
It is better to be honest and settle a minor conflict than to lie and create a larger one!
Proverbs 26:28 – You hate the one you lie to.
So, if a wife lies to her husband, does she love him? No. His feelings will be hurt and a conflict is soon to arise.
Mistrust Too many husbands and wives don’t trust each other. They are always suspicious of every action.
When you begin to say, “She did that because…” you know you are heading for a conflict.
Many things that we suppose about others are not really true, but we still treat people as if they are guilty. Certainly that is going to result in a conflict.
Acts 28:4 – The people on the island were guilty of false suspicion. They thought Paul had been bitten by a snake because he was a bad man. They were thinking evil of a man who was actually good.
When you start thinking evil of the one you are married to, you will soon start speaking evil, too. You will be generating opposition that does not need to be there.
Remember, if a husband and wife truly love and trust each other, they are going to try to overlook problems, not look for them.
Proverbs 10:12- A lack of love is terrible. Hatred will just point out problems and stir up strife. Many marriages end up with each person looking for problems in each other. You won’t have to look hard!
Proverbs 31:10-11 – Moral strength build trust. Practice it! Moral failure breeds mistrust. Beware!
Misbehaving A person can misbehave in many ways. That includes failing to fulfil your God-given role in the home. Ephesians 5:22 - Some women will refuse to cook for their husbands, and that will lead to a conflict. They may go places their husband has forbidden them to go. Ephesians 5:25, 28 - Some men will not provide for their wives’ needs, and that will lead to a conflict.
1 Corinthians 13:5 – Charity will keep you from misbehaving.
Certainly, when one misbehaves with a member of the opposite sex, that is going to bring a huge collision and end up with a bitter fight.
Misinforming I do not mean that one misinforms the other, but rather that he has misinformed himself.
You have told yourself that you are right and the other person is wrong. In short, you are filled with pride.
Proverbs 13:10 – The only way contention comes is by pride! It is the only way!
So, if there is a conflict in your home there is also pride! You say, “Yes, I agree. She is filled with pride.”
I have learned that in most cases, both are guilty of being proud.
Learn to humble yourselves, admit where you are wrong, stop pointing fingers, and put the problem behind you.
Pride will fight for its rights to the end.
Conflicts are usually all about trying to lift yourself up and push the other person down. Does that sound Christian?
1 Peter 5:6 – God gives us some good advice here. Stop trying to lift yourself up; that’s God’s job. Your job is to humble yourself.
The sooner you deal with your pride, the fewer conflicts you will have in your marriage and the more quickly they will be resolved.
When an argument goes on and on it is because of dirty, rotten, stinking pride lingering in the hearts of the two who say they love each other.
I have to laugh sometimes to hear that people say they love each other but fight constantly. No, you love yourself and that is why you are always in an argument.
Self-love is pride, and it is the source of every conflict. Deal with it!
Pr 28:25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife:
You pride is what stirs up strife.
Proverbs 11:2 – When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. It is shameful how some married people act. Philippians 2:3 – If we followed this principle, we would end all the strife in our homes. Why not learn this verse? Study it, apply it, and memorize it.
Money Many arguments arise because of money.
Either he or she spent money foolishly, and it causes an argument.
The bottom line is selfishness stemming from covetousness.
Luke 12:15 – Jesus told us to beware of covetousness. In the context, two brothers were arguing over money. It was a family problem. Today, it is often a husband and wife arguing over what they can spend on themselves, not what they can spend on one another!