Resolving Relational Conflict
"The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."1
According to twenty years of research from the University of Colorado, the number one cause of marriage breakdown is the inability to manage conflict creatively.
For example, Jim's first marriage failed and he is now on his second marriage. Almost immediately after the honeymoon was over, problems began to surface. By the end of the second year Jim and Sharon were in major conflict.
Their problem isn't their fighting. That's just a symptom of their unresolved personal issues. Unfortunately, while Sharon knows she has a problem, Jim doesn't think he has any. In his mind the conflict is all Sharon's fault.
True, Sharon had an abandoning father and feels very threatened whenever Jim even goes to lunch with a male friend. Her fear of abandonment gets triggered, which causes her to cling to Jim. However, she admits she is overreacting and is going to counseling to help resolve her problem.
On the other hand, Jim had a smother-mother and, whenever he feels Sharon is clinging to him, he overreacts too, gets angry and blames Sharon for his overreaction. The impasse or deadlock is that Jim won't admit that he, too, has a problem. Consequently, he won’t go for help.
So what hope do they have? Almost none unless both are willing to take ownership of what they are contributing to their conflict.
However, if both are willing to be honest with themselves before God, get down on their knees together and ask God to show them what they are each contributing to the conflict they are in, take full responsibility for their part, and ask God to help them find the help they need, then there is great hope for both personal growth and resolution.
As God's Word says, "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."
Suggested Prayer: "Dear God, whenever I am in a conflict situation, please help me to see my character weaknesses so that I can bring these to you for your healing, and lead me to the help I need to overcome these issues. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).