As I'm reading through The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler, I got to chapter 6 - Fighting Fair. Conflict is a part of every relationship in this sin-stained world. We get easily frustrated when our expectations of someone else go unmet. This is especially true of those relationships that are closest. In our pride we are prone to react instead of respond. It's in the midst of conflict that we often forget to aim at the heart, instead of the behavior that is frustrating us. In chapter 6, Chandler borrows ten "never" statements from Tommy Nelson's book The Book of Romance: What Solomon Says About Love, Sex, and Intimacy (©1998 by Thomas Nelson). I think they are so helpful that it's worth sharing:
- Never respond to your mate rashly.
- Never touch your mate out of temper or frustration, ever.
- Never seek to shame your spouse in public (or in private for that matter).
- Never fight in front of your kids (or use them as leverage in a disagreement).
- Never mention your spouse's parents or other family member.
- Never dig up the past; try to stay on topic.
- Never try to win.
- Never yell, use put-downs, or verbally defame your spouse.
- Never withhold physical intimacy or use sex to manipulate.
- Never put off seeking resolution.
(The above list was taken from the kindle edition of chapter 6 of The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler © 2015 and published by David C. Cook)
While this list is specific to married couples, I believe the principles laid out are applicable to all relationships. As we seek to serve and love those closest to us, don't forget to deal with where your own heart is at; taking responsibility for what you add to the conflict. Remember the goal is not to force our expectations on someone else, but to be reconciled.