As I write these blog posts, I do so with the awareness that I have a wide audience, from many who follow Jesus Christ, to others who may not be interested at all in God but want to learn how to have a great marriage. Though this particular post leans more heavily on the side of talking about Jesus, I do hope my friends who are not interested in God at this time, might read this and still glean some important helps for their life and marriage.
This morning I have been thinking of the numerous and serious conflicts amongst the nations of the world. I reflected on the times in which we live, the nature of man, and our need for God.
Ok, so permit me if you will to come at this from somewhat of a humorous perspective albeit a bit dry. For those of you who might learn more readily from hearing what NOT to do, here are 6 sure fire ways to create horrible communication between you and your spouse or children:
During the school year in our household, my wife is usually a bit more hurried in the morning than I am. It’s not that I am a slacker mind you! But she has to get to school where 27 little munchkins will walk through her door eager for their next science lesson. I on the other hand, simply have to take 15 steps through another door where my computer is eagerly awaiting for me to write some more. You get the picture. One day as I was about to leave our bedroom, I turned around and saw the bed still unmade. I froze. Do I go back and make the bed? Or do I respond to the call of my computer? I wanted to get to my computer. The decision I made led to a great discovery.
I often talk about conflict between a husband and wife, and in families. There is another place we all experience conflict. It is inside our head. We want to do good things and right things while often at the same time we don’t. It is a daily battle we all experience in many ways.
It’s so crazy. I am the one who teaches on conflict and how to resolve it. I do this every day of the week! And yet when I am in conflict it is still hard even for me and brings a multitude of emotions. Here’s what I mean:
One day last week, my wife and one of my girls began to talk with me about something in me they didn’t understand and were frustrated about. We talked for almost an hour. I had all kinds of emotions. When they first brought it up, I felt kind of attacked–not hugely, but kinda.
I know of couples who straight out go for the jugular when they fight with each other. Emotions escalate and so do they. Then there are those who are split: one wants to get to the bottom of things NOW and the other does everything they can to run the other direction. And finally, there are those couples in which neither party really wants to engage, so they both tend to put off dealing with conflict. Zerrin and I tend to fall more in this last camp. Here are some action steps to take regardless of how you deal with conflict:
Step #1: Consider Your Conflict Style
Why do you tend to deal with conflict the way you do? What good (or bad) examples have you learned from? These are very important questions to ask. They can lead to much personal insight. The more you clarify why, the more power you will have to change.
This is a guest blog by someone I have known for nearly 35 years. She is an amazing woman, a best friend, and…MY WIFE, Zerrin Oelze!
Jon Gordon, in his book The Positive Dog, talks about two imaginary dogs within us: one positive and one negative. Gordon explains these two dogs often fight inside us, but the one that wins is the one we feed the most. We have a choice in which dog we are going to feed!
I watched the final game of the World Cup this week. No doubt many of you did as well. I must confess I have not been a huge soccer fan, but it is growing on me. Every time I watch I am amazed at how the players keep moving/running the whole game. It looks exhausting. Statistics show a player may run as many as 9 miles during the game! (That’s compared to 2.72 in Basketball and 1.25 in American Football – just in case you were wondering).
In times of war there is something known as Rules Of Engagement (ROE). According to GlobalSecurity.org, they are “directives issued by competent military authority which delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement with other forces encountered.”
Recently I thought married couples should be practicing rules of engagement when it comes to interpersonal conflict!
Here are 8 Rules of Engagement to ensure you’re always fighting fair:
Why forgive? The easiest answer is to say because we are told to. Ever since we were kids I remember being told things like: “Say you are sorry,” or “Tell her you forgive her!” And as far as God went, we were supposed to forgive others just like He has forgiven us. Unfortunately that was the gist of what I heard. Numerous questions remained.
In this last series of blogs, I have done my best to answer a number of questions and share my heart on the topic of forgiveness. In this last blog on the topic, I want to refer back to an earlier work on the subject where I approach this topic of WHY. Why forgive? What is the ultimate purpose in God forgiving us and in turn, you and I forgiving others?
Why me? Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is good, why does He allow the horrible injustices in this world? These ageless questions have been asked no doubt for as long as man has existed. I have asked them myself. You probably have as well. Though God alone knows the greater story, we can gain some insight if we are willing to look beyond our pain or the injustice and consider the very purpose of our existence. What part might we play in His greater story?
We all long to have impact. We want to make a difference in the life of another. What if this is one of the greatest experiences to be had in life?