Don’t Forget This When Conflict Erupts In Your Marriage

Guest Post from John Weirick

john-weirick-profile-pic-ccabalka-e1400552721855This week’s post is from guest blogger John Weirick. John Weirick is a writer in Greenville, South Carolina, hungry for knowledge, adventure, and doing things that matter. He’s writing a book about growing through change, conflict, and relationships, which you can learn more about at johnweirick.com. Find him and say hello on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

 

Madly In Love

My wife and I had been married just over a year and we couldn’t stand each other.

Well, I don’t know exactly what she was thinking, but I couldn’t stand her.

It was uncharacteristically hot where we were traveling in Oregon and the hotel she booked for us didn’t have air conditioning. Or ceiling fans. Or a personal shower. Or a personal bathroom. I couldn’t believe it.

I didn’t have anything good to say, so I stayed furiously angry in silent scorn for her. How could she have missed it? How was I supposed to get any sleep when I couldn’t even stay cool? I had trusted her but she messed up. I didn’t care if our relationship felt unstable; I was ready for a fight.

The Truth About Conflict and Marriage

The truth is that no marriage is immune to conflict. It’s inevitable that we’ll have reasons to be mad at each other because we always fail each other in some way.

If you’re married and you’re reading this, you know it’s true.

The question then changes from “how can we avoid conflict?” to “how can we get through this conflict?”

We have by no means figured marriage out. However, we’ve learned a few things you might find useful, too.

3 Things To Remember When Your Marriage Suffers Conflict

1. Yes, you can be angry.

Experiencing the emotion of anger isn’t a sin; God actually wants us to be angry but not sin (Ephesians 4:26).

When you’re angry in your marriage, that’s fine. Just don’t let that anger stop you from communicating.

When communication stops, conflict grows the most dangerous. (tweet that)

Keep the lines of dialogue open the morning after an argument. Even if you hate each other’s guts in the moment, commit to revisit the issue at a time when you’re both prepared to respectfully unpack what the conflict looks like from your perspective and be willing to hear out the other person.

2. No, you don’t need to solve every conflict.

The first years of our relationship, we had operated under the assumption that conflicts happened but we were supposed to fix them. If we didn’t find a resolution right away, or at least soon, then our marriage would crack and eventually crumble. But like most assumptions in relationships, we were so wrong.

Conflict in marriage isn’t a problem to be solved, but a tension to manage. (tweet that)

Some of the conflicts in your marriage aren’t solvable because you are still two different people learning to be one (Mark 10:8). The conflict isn’t because of your relationship, but because of you.

It’s OK and good that you’re two unique individuals with various preferences, perspectives, and methods. Those differences fuel conflicts in your marriage, yes, but they also enable you to work together through them and continue to respect and love each other regardless, even when you least deserve it (Ephesians 5:33).

3. Conflict can be good.

Conflict can actually be good for your marriage if you let it. When you get into a tense conversation, or the tone of a disagreement turns hostile toward each other’s character, it’s going down a road that only leads to regret. But if you’re using the frustration of the moment to communicate more clearly what you see and feel and then listen to each other, you’ll be working toward a better connection than if you hadn’t had the conflict at all.

So step into the ring of marriage—not to hurt each other, but to learn to fight well and figure out a way forward together.

Read more about conflict, relationships, and intentional living at johnweirick.com.

Will I Ever Change?

Part 2

Change. What does it take? How can you and I actually make a lasting change in any or many areas of our lives? If you’re like me, you want to grow and become a better person than you are today.

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In my last post, I challenged you to think of an area in life where you have experienced change, and what helped bring that about.

I shared with you one personal area of change that has taken place in my life, and the first two agents of change I am aware of that helped me. That area of change was in becoming a walker. Now I don’t mean just any ol’ walker. I mean a genuine, get off your duff, and get some exercise walker! It’s where you walk every day, once or twice a day. You walk at a good pace, sometimes you do intervals between fast and slow walking. Ok, you get the point. Anyway, I hated going on walks when first married but my wife loved it. Now I love it too.

How did that happen? What were the change agents?

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Will I Ever Change?

Plus a FREE giveaway!

I don’t know about you but sometimes I look back at my life and wonder – have I changed that much? Am I growing as a person? I still am drawn to various temptations. I have long struggled with deep feelings of inadequacy and often still do. My frustration levels at life still rise higher than I like and more frequently than I wish. I find myself not patient with the driver in front of me. I don’t like it when my wife tells me how to drive or where to go, and I tell her so! I regularly think to myself, and say to Zerrin, “I’m a mess!”

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Can we really change? If so, what does it take?

We are now three months into the New Year. I don’t know the percentages, but my guess is that most people who made their New Year resolutions have already fallen off the bandwagon. It is a frustrating and disappointing experience.

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5 Steps To Excelling in 2016

Towards the end of last year, I found myself troubled about the level of stress and frustration I was experiencing in life more often than not. I decided to do something about it and made a personal commitment to seek counsel. I’m glad I did. I gained some important insights about myself and some of the internal motivations that were driving me. Keeping what I learned in mind is helping me begin the New Year in a better way.

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How about YOU? I have an idea…

As we start off 2016, what is going well in your life right now? And what is not going well? Where are you hurting? In which areas of life do you find yourself most anxious and frustrated? Where would you like to excel? Consider taking some time to do what I did and seek counsel. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you do:

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The Wonder Of His Love

I see it quite often as I counsel with people. I am aware of its affect on me daily. It is an experience we all long for, and yet are most afraid of. It is the desire to be known–fully known, and still accepted. The more we are known and accepted, the more we feel safe and loved.

Madly In Love

It is true of me however, as I am sure it is just as true of you. There are parts of me I don’t want to be seen or known because I am afraid of how you might respond. Will you roll your eyes, tell me you don’t understand, tire of my struggles, or walk away in disgust? Or will you listen to know me, identify with my struggles, and thank me for sharing? Those are the questions and fears we encounter in our relationships every day.

We want to relax and know that even in the midst of all the good and bad we see in ourselves, that we are still loved. We grow weary of hiding behind walls. But we are afraid.

In our fear, we dance out of step in our relationships, just enough to keep anyone from getting too close. We want to be known but we don’t.

Soon we will be celebrating Christmas. I love Christmas for a host of reasons including the joy of giving and receiving gifts. Another reason is because of the name–Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” Every year I get lost in amazement over that name of Jesus.

There was a time, all the way back in the beginning, when God was with man–in the Garden of Eden. We don’t know how long it lasted, but we do know it ended. Adam and Eve made a decision to walk in a direction other than God wished for them. The result was separation. God remained in the Garden. Mankind was set outside. They were no longer with each other.

From that day until now, man has felt an aloneness he was never meant to experience. And from that day until now, God’s heart has been to reunite us with Him.

We saw it first in the beginning of the Bible when God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle wherein He could meet with Moses. God said: “I will live among the people of Israel and be their God.” (Exodus 29:45) Do you see? God longed to be with His people. Immanuel, God with us.

Then we see it later in the Bible where Jesus–who was God in flesh–came so He could live and make His home among us. (John 1:14) Immanuel!!

Think about it. What leader of a country or King of any nation has ever wanted to live among his people? And yet God–the King of all Kings–longs to do that very thing! IMMANUEL!

It gets even better. Jesus called His followers “friends.” (John 15:15)

You and I are invited to follow Jesus so that He might call us friends! He wants to know us and for us to know Him.

Recently I was talking with a friend about how much we enjoy our relationship. My wife and I regularly talk about how much we enjoy being with each other. Wonderful and rich experiences, and yet I am lost in amazement that God Himself wants to know and enjoy us!

This Christmas season, take some time to reflect on the idea that God wants you close to Him. He wants to be with you. That is why He sent Jesus to earth. He really does love you and me! God wants to be your friend. He wants to be known by you. Through Him, we can experience the satisfaction of the greatest longing of our hearts–to be fully known and yet fully loved.

Remember IMMANUEL!

Thank YOU!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, I am aware of being thankful for so many things in my life beginning with a God who is for me, and a wife and family that are too. In this post however, I want to highlight one thing in particular that I am especially thankful for.

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There are a number of couples and individuals who come to mind that I have known or worked with over the last few years, who refused to give up on their marriage, even when only one spouse was interested in doing the work. Rather than stay in a mindset of anger and bitterness, they did what they could do to change and grow personally.

In some situations, it made all the difference in the marriage, as the other spouse responded positively to the changes. Sadly, in some cases the other spouse still refused to take necessary steps of change themselves. It is to YOU–who have done all you could do–that I want to say “thank you!”

I thank each and every individual and couple who has stayed the course in their marriage and family even when the course was tough. Here’s why:

You are an encouragement to me and all those around you! There are many like you as well as Zerrin and I, who are continuing to run the race and want to do it well to the end. And when you run hard and do what you can to stay the course, it keeps us encouraged and strengthened to do the same. So I say thank you!  THANK YOU to each and every one of you!

May we all keep our eyes on the finish line with the anticipation of one day soon hearing the words from God Himself:  “Well done!”

Zerrin and I pray that you will enjoy a wonderful time of Giving Thanks this week!

I Married An Optimist!

It is one of the many reasons I married my wife. She is an eternal optimist. No doubt it is because of her dad. Never in my life have I met someone so positive. To this day I am convinced he is the Father of Optimism!

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One of the ways my wife and her father express their optimism, is through gratitude.

Think: grateful attitude.

Gratitude.

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A Simple Way To Increase Connection in Your Marriage & Family

You and I both learned an important lesson in life at a very early age:

Take Turns!

Madly In Love

We see the need to teach it whenever we’re around children. One is playing with a toy, when another child comes along and grabs it because he wants to play with it. The first child cries or reacts in anger as she grabs the toy back, and a fight quickly ensues. As fast as we can, we  jump in between the children and say: “you guys need to take turns!”

The same is true for you and I in our marriages.

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Ministry Update

In place of the blog this week, I wanted to take the opportunity to give you an update on some things we’re working on behind the scenes. I’m excited about what God is doing and where He’s taking our ministry.

First, one of the things I am most excited about is our conference schedule. We are in the process of planning several upcoming conferences. Here’s a preview—put one of them on your calendar and plan now to join us!

  • October 30, 2015 in Wichita, KS: This is a Friday night only shortened version of the Madly In Love marriage conference, that is specifically designed for all Pastors or ministry leaders. This is a great opportunity to be introduced to our ministry to churches, hear our core message, and learn the PLEDGE process for working through conflict with your spouse, your staff, and others!
  • February 19-20, 2016; Lighthouse Community Church; Wichita, KS: A full version of the conference open to all. Ticket and registration info coming soon.

Secondly, Zerrin, Danielle, and I have been praying, researching, and talking about ways in which to attract and reach more people with the PLEDGE message. We have a few ideas in mind for 2016 that we’re really excited about! Would you pray with us that God continues to lead us in new ideas, strategic partnerships, and fresh creativity?

Thirdly, several churches have asked if we would develop some material to teach PLEDGE in a small group format. We have a very brief guide available here, but we are also working on an expanded version that would be perfect for a church small group. We’re hoping to have this available early 2016.

Phew! With all that said, I’m spending more and more time connecting with pastors and developing new formats of content and have less time for the weekly blog so will start blogging twice a month rather than weekly. Now I’ll have more time to respond to your comments – so keep reading!

As always, thank you so much for praying with us and praying for us, we appreciate you so much!

Exciting things ahead!

Mark & Zerrin

What Have You Learned In Your Marriage Today?

Have you ever wondered why marriage goes the way it does with all it’s ups and downs? Some days you think you couldn’t live without your mate, and other days, well… it’s nice to have a bit of space. What if there was a purpose in all the challenges you face not only in your marriage but in life itself?

Madly In Love

Early this year a friend of mine wrote the following article that answers that question in a very revealing manner. I thought it was so good I wanted to share it with you with his permission. Read more to learn THE perspective you need to get the most out of your marriage, your family, and your life as a whole!

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