A Dirty Way to Fight
"Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and so become more and more in every way like Christ."1
Having worked in the area of relationships for some time, I have discovered that one of the major problems (and challenges) seems to be the inability for couples to communicate and resolve conflict effectively. In fact, according to counselors, this is one of the major reasons why relationships fail.
Relationships are based more than anything on emotions. Men may disagree with me here but I don't think our female readers will. In my experience, the number one complaint I have heard from wives over the years (on both sides of the Pacific Ocean) is a variation on the theme, "My husband doesn't share his feelings with me and doesn't listen to or understand mine." Surprise? Surprise!
True, we men know how to put a man on the moon and how to talk to him while he is there, but some of us don't know how to effectively communicate with our wife or kids while we're in the same room!
However, it is not always we men who are at fault. Again, in my experience, nearly as many men as women bemoan the fact that their spouse withdraws when her feelings are hurt.
Withdrawal is a downright dirty way to fight.
It can be a form of passive hostility, self-pity, or self-justification. It can be caused by a fear of conflict, a fear of being dominated by the other person, or any of a number of other reasons. However, when one party withdraws, there is no possible chance for resolution. It's even worse when both parties withdraw.
What we need to learn is to "fight" like a Christian!
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be an effective communicator, to be honest with my feelings, never withdraw from conflict, and always speak the truth in love. Gratefully, in Jesus's name. Amen."
1. Ephesians 4:15–16 (TLB).