Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Conflict Resolution In Patriarchal Marriages


Let me begin by saying, conflict does arise in the best of patriarchal families. This is so because families are made up of human beings, fraught with potential for error. However, God has structured the family in such a way that conflict may be easily minimized and resolved.
Conflict is NOT resolved by the head of the family declaring "Because I said so". This will only submerge the nature of the issue to re-emerge at a later time when something else triggers it.
Conflict is NOT resolved by establishing authority parameters between husband and wife. The real problem is not between them. This also leaves the thorn of conflict still festering beneath the surface, to burst forth when least expected and appreciated.
Conflict is NOT resolved by the weaker personality surrendering to the stronger personality. It is not a matter of strength or power.
Conflict is adequately dealt with when both husbands and wives honestly and correctly respond to two basic questions. No amount of external counselling will help any marriage until these questions have been adequately dealt with.
FOR THE HUSBAND: 1. What kind of man am I? Am I a man that is honestly walking in a vital, powerful relationship with my Lord? Am I seeking first the kingdom of God or am I operating with selfish motives? A Godly Patriarch will seek to lead his family as Christ does His. That will be, seeking to be and do, what is right, what will glorify God, what will benefit the family; operating in love and righteousness. The husband has been entrusted by the Lord with a family, a sacred trust, not to be ignored or abused. God has invested in the husband the responsibility and the authority to function as the corporate head of that family, a trust that may not be abdicated. To shirk that responsibility just because it may be painful, difficult and lonely is to fail the Lord, the family and ultimately ourselves.
2. What kind of woman is my wife? How do I see her? Is she a woman that has her personal walk with the Lord as her highest priority? Is she a godly woman who sees things differently or is she a shrewish wretch that you cannot stand to be around? Men, are we seeing the real woman that she is? Do we understand where she is coming from and what her challenges may be? What is the motive for her side of the conflict, is it meanness or can it be fear and anxiety because she doesn't feel she can trust your leadership?
If she is not a godly woman who is walking with the Lord, ministering to her in that arena is your primary objective. Establishing order in the family without first having order with God is futile at best.
FOR THE WIFE: 1. What kind of woman am I? Am I a woman that is walking in close fellowship with and submission to my Lord? Am I seeking to serve Him in the capacity and role He has designed for me? Am I embracing the spirit of the age or the Spirit of God? God has designed and called me to be a helper to my husband as well as be his companion, supporter and friend, but He did not design me to be his supervisor or exercise authority over him. Am I honestly and sincerely following his leadership with grace and a deep seated trust in the Lord to lead my husband? Am I a hindrance to his calling or a helper in it? Have I become his ministry instead of helping him in his God ordered ministry? Do I love the Lord first and my husband second or does someone or something come between me and the Lord or me and my husband?
2. What kind of man is my husband? How do I see him? Is he a man of God? Does he seek the Lord’s leadership for our family? Is he loving and serving the Lord, or do I see him as selfish, carnal and sinful? Is my husband a sinner saved by grace, transformed to a new creature in Christ Jesus or is he a sinner who is practicing sin? Does he love me and care for me as the Lord does His churches or is he seeking his own pleasure and comfort? If your husband is not a godly man, saved and serving the Lord, then regardless of any other facets of your marital relationship, your primary care for him is to pray for and encourage him to know and love the Lord. Your best means of accomplishing this is by manifesting a sweet, loving, Christ like spirit your self, a powerful agent for the Lord.
Dangerous conflict arises when one or both spouses have allowed their relationship with the Lord to diminish and manifest itself as carnal attitude and behavior which results in conflict. When conflict arises, the divine order as presented in I Corinthians 11, of God the Father > Christ > man > woman is out of sync and friction occurs. Friction between the person and God as well as friction between spouses shows up as conflict. To endeavor to remove the conflict by dealing first with the human interaction is ineffective and causes additional conflict that will escalate until bitterness, hatred and often violence erupts. The source of all our marital conflicts has its source in spouses neglecting their relationship with God and thinking they can circumvent God’s designed role for each. God’s plan cannot be improved on. His plan can only benefit us when we implement it as He designed.
The procedures for resolving the conflict when it arises, is first, examine our own heart and establish our walk in God’s prescribed path and then seek the well being of our spouse. Bathe the spouse and the situation in constant and consistent prayer until the Lord, by His Holy Spirit, brings about resolution. Resolution is the work of God, our part is being right ourselves. Placing blame and or complaining is a hindrance to the process. This article is dealing with the average or common examples of conflict before gross immorality or other types of sin become dangerous or violent. In the extreme cases separation for health and safety may be necessary for protection of life. Even then, the goals should be the same, but from a distance, waiting on God to change the hearts of men and women.