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The Love Dare: Day 13

  • Day 13

    Love Fights Fair

    If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. – Mark 3:25

     

    Like it or not, conflict in marriage is simply inevitable.  When you tied the knot as bride and groom, you joined not only your hopes and dreams but also your hurts, fears, imperfections, and emotional baggage.  From the moment you unpacked from your honeymoon, you began the real process of unpacking one another, unpleasantly discovering how sinful and selfish each of you could be.

    Pretty soon your mate started to slip off your lofty pedestal, and you off of theirs.  The forced closeness of marriage began stripping away your public facades, exposing your private problems and secret habits.  Welcome to fallen humanity.

    At the same time, the storms of life began testing and revealing what you’re really made of. Work demands, health issues, in-law arguments, and financial needs flared up in varying degrees, adding pressure and heat to the relationship.  This sets the stage for disagreements to break out between the two of you.  You argued and fought. You hurt.  You experienced conflict.  But you are not alone.

    Every couple goes through it.  It’s par for the course.  But not every couple survives it.

    So don’t think living out today’s dare will drive all conflict from your marriage.  Instead, this is about dealing with conflict in such a way that you come out healthier on the other side.

    Both of you.  Together.

    The deepest, most heartbreaking damage you’ll ever do (or ever have done) to your marriage will most likely occur in the thick of conflict.  That’s because this is when your pride is strongest.  Your anger is hottest.  You’re the most selfish and judgmental.  Your words contain the most venom.  You make the worst decisions.  A great marriage on Monday can start driving off the cliff on Tuesday if unbridled conflict takes over and neither of you has your foot on the brakes.

    But love steps in and changes things.  Love reminds you that your marriage is too valuable to allow it to self-destruct, and that your love for your spouse is more important than whatever you’re fighting about.  Love helps you install air bags and to set up guardrails in your relationship.  It reminds you that conflict can actually be turned around for good.  Married couples who learn to work through conflict tend to be closer, more trusting, more intimate, and enjoy a much deeper connection afterwards.

    But how?  The wisest way is to learn to fight clean by establishing healthy rules of engagement.  If you don’t have guidelines for how you’ll approach hot topics, you won’t stay in bounds when the action heats up.

    Basically there are two types of boundaries for dealing with conflict: “we” boundaries and “me” boundaries.

    “We” boundaries are rules you both agree on beforehand, rules that apply during any fight or altercation.  And each of you has the right to gently but directly enforce them if these rules are violated.  These could include:

    1. We will never mention divorce.
    2. We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past.
    3. We will never fight in public or in front of our children.
    4. We will call a “time out” if conflict escalates to a damaging level.
    5. We will never touch one another in a harmful way.
    6. We will never go to bed angry with one another.
    7. Failure is not an option.  Whatever it takes, we will work this out.

    “Me” boundaries are rules you personally practice on your own. Here are some of the most effective examples:

    1. I will listen first before speaking.  “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19).
    2. I will deal with my own issues up-front.  “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
    3. I will speak gently and keep my voice down.  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

    Fighting fair means changing your weapons.  Disagreeing with dignity.  It should result in building a bridge instead of burning one down.  Remember, love is not a fight, but it is always worth fighting for.

      

    Today's Dare

     

    Talk with your spouse about establishing healthy rules of engagement.  If your mate is not ready for this, then write out your own personal rules to “fight” by.  Resolve to abide by them when the next disagreement occurs.

      

    Be of the same mind toward one another.  (Romans 12:16)

     

     Click here to buy a copy of the Love Dare book.

     

    Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission.  Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

     

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8 comments
  • 2
Dion Todd
Dion Todd Never argue in front of others. Stop bringing up the past. Words of wisdom for a healthy relationship.
February 13, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Amen!
February 13, 2016
  • 1
Silvia Raquel Fernandez
Silvia Raquel Fernandez

I am fighting on my own, thats how I feel! My husband just dont want to talk to me about anything related on working our problems. I dont even know how to keep on with everything. Is like if he dosent cares! These past weeks have been so hard to keep up with the dares, cause i really want to save my marriage! :(

May 6
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

Lord, I lift up Silvia and her husband to you and pray that you please draw them together, that you speak to them both through this Love Dare, that you help them both to overcome their marital issues, and help them to come out of this stronger than ever, in the name of Jesus, amen!

May 7
  • 1
Silvia Raquel Fernandez
Silvia Raquel Fernandez

Amen! 

May 7
  • 1
Carol Pady
Carol Pady Amen! After 35 yrs of Spiritually Single marriage Jim and I have learned to agree to disagree on some touchy subjects. We don't argue our sides we just respect eachother's differences. 
February 13, 2016
  • 1
Joseph Krell
Joseph Krell We all have much to learn if only we have the desire to change and the will to learn. With my past alcohol/drug abuse, I learned it didn't come to be overnight so it would not go away overnight. I know God can work miracles and I also know I will learn more if I have to work at continually for a long period of time. Adversity will indeed make us stronger. Let Go And Let God, is great, but it takes time for me to understand it. The Kendrick brothers put out some great movies. For me it started with Courageous, and then Facing The Giants before Fireproof and now War Room. They are all very much worth a watching and can be a tool to help others as gifts. One day at a time sweet Jesus, one day at a time. What are You trying to teach me today, Lord!
February 13, 2016
  • 1
Mark Duell
Mark Duell  I see what takes place in front of children these days and people wonder why our society is the way it is. If the simple guidelines above were at least practiced a little. "HE" has to be the center of it all. He is the glue that holds it all together when it begins to unravel. Pride and selfishness need to be stomped in the ground. Oh Father, help those marriages that are on the brink of destruction. Protect the spirit and hearts of those children that are stuck in those situations they had nothing to do with. Oh Father have mercy on all those that find themselves in these situations. Thank you Father, thank you.
February 14, 2016