How to Understand and Resolve Conflicts in Marriage
According to an article in Time Magazine of Feb. 25, 1995, in 1993, 2.3 million couples performed that most optimistic of human rituals and got married. The same year 1.2 million couples agreed, officially that their marriages could not be saved. “The breakup of marriages is increasingly seen not only as a personal tragedy but also as a social crisis. Judith Wallerstein who has been conducting the longest-running (1970) research on children of divorcees. Said that after 24 years she did not see a single child who was well adjusted”. They were filled with anger, grief, unable to fit with their peers, and young adults crippled in their attempt to love.
The trouble in this most intimate area of human relationships is seen in the fact that there is an increase in the number of couples who have been seeking marital therapy. Some 4.6 million couples a year visit 50,000 licensed marital therapists up from 1.2 in 1998.
As a result, there is a growing movement to strengthen families and prevent divorce. I am proud that over the past 25 years my church has taken definite steps to strengthen families. Family international, family retreats.... yes there is much more to be done.
Do you know any married person who wishes that he/she was single? The divorce rate in the USA tells the story. 54 % of couples divorce today.
I once heard someone say, when I got married, I thought it was the real deal, but it turned out to be an ordeal, and now I am seeking a new deal.”
Why some many couples who thought they had found the real deal, ended with it being an ordeal? Is a New Deal the real answer to their ordeal? The divorce rate is higher in second marriages…
WHY MANY MARRIAGES BECOME AN ORDEAL?
- A failure of couples to understand, accept, celebrated, and deal spiritually with their differences. This lack of understanding concerning the divine purpose for differences leads to unresolved conflicts, then separation and divorce. My wife and I are widely different, but we have been married for 38 years now.
- Marriage has always been under satanic attack because of its present and eternal significance.
- It is the foundation of family, church society, and nation.
If marriages are messed up the wives are messed up, the husband, the children, the church, the schools, the communities are messed up.
- Through marriage, we have the intergenerational transfer of the faith psalm 127; Gen 18:19
- The most enduring symbol of the love relationship between God and the believer. “We cannot cherish home affection with too much care; for the home if the Spirit of the Lord dwells there is a type of heaven.” Adventist Home p 118
- What is the main source of conflict within our marriage and church? Matt 19:1-8; Mark 7:20-23,) James 4:1-4; The heart of marital and church problems is a problem of our heart (Wives and husbands Put your hands on your hearts say with God “the heart of my problems in my marriage is a problem of my heart. The heart of our problems in our church is a problem of my heart. Lord help me to believe that the heart of my problems is a problem of my heart. Is it true that the problems that I am facing in my marriage, family and church are problems of my heart? What’s above the ground is produced by what’s below the ground. What is in the inner world produces what in the real world? If we are at war outwardly is because we are at war inwardly.
Therefore, if you want to solve the conflicts in your family, you need an inner world solution. With a focus on inner world solutions, the ordeal can become a better and a newer deal.
TWO MAJOR AREAS OF DIFFERENCES THAT CAN TURN A REAL DEAL INTO AN ORDEAL:
The use of Money and role conflicts within marriage.
MONEY: Marriage counselors report that the chief cause of marital conflicts in both Christian and not- Christian families is the use of money. 96% of couples quarrel about money. The average household is 9,000.00 in credit card death. Couples planning to be married and want to have a happy marriage should not enter marriage without knowing how they will finance the marriage and understanding their partner’s attitude toward money.
Quarrels over money are not really about dollars and cents but it is over what money symbolizes a Samuel Bacchiocchihi+
- MONEY AS POWER- the balance of power in a family is often tipped in favor of the partner earning the most money- more money more say-power. In former days it used to be the man who had more power because he earned more money. But today it is not necessarily so, women wages are increasing and sometimes surpass the man. These changes in the earning power are likely to affect the balance of power home. This will cause tensions and conflicts if not dealt with in a Christ-like way. This is very evident in the immigrant community. Does money symbolize power in your home?
In the Christian home, money should not be used as a source of power. Husbands and wives should not use it as a tool to control the other or make the other feel insignificant. Rather it should be a shared resource. A wife or husband's value should not be derived from how much money he/she makes. What should our worth and value be based on? That is not what makes me a person of the worth of value. That doesn’t that money is not important.
So, who should handle the money? Ultimately it does not matter who handles the money so long as it is the most capable person. Some couples let the more competent ones handle the money. Others divide the financial responsibilities.
If you are using money as a source of power and control in your marriage, ask God to help you and stop that.
- MONEY AS STATUS: We are normally judged by how much money we make…We reveal our financial status by the things we purchase. These are known as status symbols. What are some status symbols? Disagreements over the purchases may not be so much over the purchases but over the status? The conflict arises when a husband and a wife desires a different status symbol. How can he get it and I can’t? How can she get it and I can’t? Has this happened in your marriage relationship? Ask, is this a real need or am I just trying to boost up my ego, to keep up with my neighbor. Examine your heart. (Philip 2:3-4) Does conflict over money in my home arise because…
- MONEY AS LOVE: Love towards a person is often expressed by giving presents. A man and a woman often give presents to each other when dating and later when married. Presents often cost money. Therefore, if a man or woman no longer receives presents this could be a withholding of love. If perceived that way it could cause, resentment, bitterness, frustration, and quarrels. The spouse should ascertain the real reason why He or she is not receiving gifts. When a wife/husband/fiancée fiancé condition their love for each other upon the economic benefits to be derived from each other their love that they are lovers of the world and will pierce their hearts with much sorrow. A wife should love her husband/ whether they have money or not. This is not indicating that I am condoning laziness in any way. Is money as a symbol of love causing a problem in your home?
- MONEY AS INDEPENDENCE. A good income gives a sense of security and a spirit of independence. For Christian real security comes for an assurance that God will provide. (1 Timothy 6:17) If a couple’s real security is in their good income, what happens if this source of income dries up. The husband will feel less of a man. The wife may be tempted to become anxious or worried or complaining. The sense of financial independence can also harm a marriage. If he is not making enough money, why should I stay with him anyway? When difficulties arise, she may say I don’t have to take this crap, I am gone. A spirit of independence can undermine the one-flesh union.SUMMARY: Which of the above symbolic use of money is affecting your marriage and family? Each partner in a marriage relationship should understand the other person’s feelings, attitudes, and habits in using money. A man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which possess. God is not opposed to us having money but to money having us.
- A second major area of conflict and breakup in marriage revolves around the perceived role of husband and wife. Migration complicates this: What is the Biblical role of husband & wife?
ROLES OF HUSBAND (Haskell Edwards) P.128
Co-planner, Handy man
Babysitting, washing, cooking
Disposal of garbage, ironing,
Mending, nurse, grocery shopping
This reveals that there are a status loss and acquisition and a role reversal. True!!! If this is not navigated properly it could result in quarrels and fights, Separation, and divorce. Understanding and practicing the Biblical role of wife and husband could solve the problem.
What is the Biblical role of the man and woman?
The main Biblical Passages that address the role of Husband and Wives are Gen 3:16; Eph 5:18-32; Col 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1-7; 1 Corinthians 11:3-13. The texts TALK HEADSHIP/SUBMISSION TEXTS. They are called the household codes since they summarize the duties of various members of the household.
Most liberal feminists concede that these texts teach the principle of husband-headship and wife submission, but they are not to be taken seriously because they are time-bound, culturally conditioned, male-centered. Thus, they reject the Biblical teaching on Headship/submission.
Evangelical Feminist, for the most part, accepts the headship/ submission teachings but hey reinterpret them in accordance with the partnership position.
The Biblical feminist accepts the Biblical position. They maintain that the Bible clearly teaches that God established functional role differences between husbands and wives—distinctions that do not imply superiority of the husband of inferiority on of the wife; rather these roles are complementary. (The Marriage Covenant P. 123)
THE NATURE OF THE WIFE SUBMISSION:
Ephesians 5:22 In what sense are wives to be submissive to their own husbands. There are different motivations for submission: There is a subtle type of submission calculated to accomplish the wife’s secret desires. There is a submission for peace's sake. There is the submission to the wisdom of a superior person. There is an angry and bitter submission.
The Bible rejects these worldly types of submission. There are a greater purpose and a higher reason for submission
- Submission for the sake of Christ- out of reverence for Christ, as to the Lord, as fitting in the Lord. Col 3:18
- Like her submission to the Lord 5:23
Note the submission of the wife to the husband rests on theological, not on cultural reasons. She is asked to submit not because of the husband's superior wisdom or for any social convenience, but for the sake of Christ. So, when the wife subordinates herself to her husband she is obeying Christ. This does not mean that the husband is Christ. Submit to your husband as to the Lord, but not because they are the Lord.
*The wife submission is not based on the husband superiority or the wife ‘inferiority but on the husband, a role established by God at creation 1Cor 11:9
* This is a voluntary submission. A wife's submission to her husband is not imposed but is voluntary.
* This is a submission among equals. Men and women different but equal both in creation and redemption. For Example, the trinity. 1 Corinthians 15:20 Women are our equal & Men women are equal with us.
THE NATURE OF HUSBAND HEADSHIP 25-27,28-30
Today we have some Reckless Adams and Restless Eve’s who need to return to the authority of God’s word. When we do, even though our real deal became an ordeal, the word of God anointed by the Holy Spirit can transform that ordeal into a newer and better deal.
What does it mean for the Husband to be the Head?
- 5:25 A headship or leadership in christlike-sacrificial love. Paul exhorts husbands to exercise not a headship of, power, control, domination but the leadership of sacrificial love. Sacrifice for her sanctification, purification, and glorification.
How does he love the church? (a.) He loves the church u unconditionally, sacrificially, He also give healing correction to the church. As a husband am I the one who is willing to giving up everything for the wellbeing of my wife?
- b) In a cleansing transforming way. Many women carry inner wounds and hurt from childhood days. Does my love for her help to wash away and purify her of her emotional wounds—Sanctification- is he better off today than when I marry her?
For me to love my wife like Christ loves the church I have to draw my life from Christ. I must be sustained by him. I must be filled with the Holy Spirit
- A leadership in Christlike service Matt 20: 27, 28, 1 Pet 3:7
E.G. White, “If he wishes to keep her fresh and gladsome so that she will be as sunshine in the home, let him help bear her burdens. His kindness and loving courtesy will be a precious encouragement, and the happiness he imparts will bring Joy and peace to His own heart.
- Providing care and competent management of the entire family.
He is the house--band of the family binding the members of together, even as Christ is the head of the church. God held Adam and Eli responsible for their messed-up families. AH 218; P. 215
- He is the priest or Pastor of his family Ephesians 6:4
The rejection of the biblical role distinction within marriages is a major cause of marital conflicts and break up today. Scripture clearly presents the headship of the husband and the submission of the wife as an order established by God to produce harmony in the home. The practice of headship and submission does not indicate the superiority of the husband or inferiority of the wife. Each role is important with one complementing the other. The bible also says each should submit to the other out of reverence for Christ.
Conclusion and Appeal: In Matthew 19:8, Mark 7:20-23 and James 4 Jesus tells that the major cause and solution of conflicts and braking up of a marriage is a problem of our hearts. The heart of our problems in marriage and the church is a problem of the heart.
Appeal: Husbands, Lord empower v me to love my wife and family as you love the church. Wives, empower me to submit to the loving, Christ-like the leadership of my husband.
Everyone now, Lord empower me to surrender all to Jesus today
Story --The older and younger couple who were walking
- Look at the following areas of potential conflicts and identify (check off) which ones are causing problems in your marriage, home, and the church:
|#||Areas of Potential Conflicts||Marriage||Home||Church|
|i.||Differences in personality or temperaments|
|ii.||Languages of love|