Every couple will at some point experience conflict in their relationship. Having a set of guidelines from a biblical perspective has been the key for Eric and me. Knowing how to act and react when we disagree with the other person has kept our arguments to a minimum, and we’ve resolved our problems much faster. Since conflict is inevitable, seeking Biblical wisdom for how to deal with our differences was something we wanted to actively pursue in our marriage, rather than default to the ungodly way we engaged with one another.
In today’s podcast episode, we dive into ways to effectively engage with your spouse when conflict comes your way. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.
Eric Engle: Hi, I’m Eric Engle with my beautiful wife Jolene for another episode of the Marriage Mentor Podcast and we are in a series right now…What’s our series about?
Jolene Engle: It’s called Proverbs for Couples.
Eric Engle: Proverbs for couples. Proverbs is so great, isn’t it?
Jolene Engle: I love the book.
Eric Engle: Ok.
Jolene Engle: Love it.
Eric Engle: So today, what’s our topic?
Jolene Engle: Well, it’s a sub-topic to how to communicate in marriage. We launched Part 1 here. That was our first one and as we were kinda unpacking that teaching we talked about the words we use and then we kinda uncovered other issues in communication; problems.
Eric Engle: Right.
Jolene Engle: Now one of those is how to resolve conflict. So, that is today’s topic, How to resolve conflict in Marriage. But it is part of the communication.
Eric Engle: Absolutely. And we help a lot of couples do that; resolving conflict.
Jolene Engle: Right.
Eric Engle: So, where does that go? I mean, couples are at odds all the time, right?
Jolene Engle: Yes.
Eric Engle: Not all couples, but many couples are at adds, many Christian couples are at odds they have conflict and I guess what I want to do is start with some things that they should not do. Ok. And we touched on this a little bit before, but if you’re going to communicate with your spouse, the first thing you cannot do is say “YOU”.
Jolene Engle: Right.
Eric Engle: You cannot blame. And what I want to encourage everyone to do and we teach this…
Jolene Engle: Wait…so you can’t resolve conflict, I can’t resolve conflict in my marriage if I blame you? Is that what you are saying?
Eric Engle: (laughing) You can, but that won’t resolve the conflict.
Jolene Engle: The conflict won’t be resolved.
Eric Engle: No.
Jolene Engle: So, it’s an ineffective way to resolve conflict?
Eric Engle: Yeah, it’s what everyone does, you know?
Jolene Engle: Right. So, note to self…Don’t blame, because it doesn’t work.
Eric Engle: Right.
Jolene Engle: Simple concept.
Eric Engle: So instead of blaming I want them to learn to use phrases like “I feel…”
Eric Engle: Everyone out there, I don’t care where you’re at, just say, “I feel” Ok?
Jolene Engle: I feel.
Eric Engle: Now when you have something against your partner, your wife or your husband, instead of saying, “You wronged me.” Go and say, “I just want to talk to you about this, and this is how I feel, or this is how this makes me feel,” Ok? Because now you are putting the weight on yourself. Rather than the weight on someone else and ask them if they understand that, and they might not. But ask them to understand. You have to find out if they are with you. “Do you understand what I am saying?” Am I being clear? This is not an attack on you.
Jolene Engle: So let me ask you this question, should I have this conversation with you when we are in a heated argument?
Eric Engle: It depends on if you can calm it down.
Jolene Engle: If I can’t diffuse it…
Eric Engle: If you can’t calm it down, then you need to separate for a while.
Jolene Engle: Ok.
Eric Engle: And here’s the deal. You need to tell them what’s going on. “Look, we’re both hot, and I’m really mad at you, I want to punch you in the head…”
Jolene Engle: I’m going to get a donut for later. (laughing)
Eric Engle: Ok, you just say, I need 15 minutes, I need a half an hour, I need an hour, to calm down.
Jolene Engle: I have to go into my safe zone.
Eric Engle: It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to talk to you about this, it just means that I need that time to cool down.
Jolene Engle: Right.
Eric: And I think we would be more productive if we did that, would you agree? Can we do that? Can I talk to you about this in an hour?
Jolene: Right, so here’s what I would recommend. Some of these things that we are going to discuss in the podcast, would be a phenomenal list of things to discuss with your spouse on a date night-when there is no argument or hot issue that needs to have a conversation.
Eric: That’s an excellent point. So when there is no argument or conflict, talk about how you will treat each other during an argument or conflict.
Jolene: Right, so it’s a preventative measure.
Eric: Right, and don’t bring up, “You did this..” No, don’t go there.
Jolene: Well really what’s happening is you’re developing kind of like a mission statement as a couple of this is how we will engage in communication. This is how we will agree to resolve conflict. And you’re doing it at a time when you’re not at odds.
Eric: Every functioning group needs some sort of guidelines on how to function.
Jolene: They’re the by laws. You can make the bylaws for how to engage with your spouse.
Eric: Right, what if we’re all driving and we all just decided on our own rules when we came to an intersection.
Jolene: Right, it would be chaos.
Eric: I mean, we’ve set up some rules, that if it’s a stop sign you stop, Ok. If it’s a yellow light, you’re supposed to have caution. Everyone’s agreed on those rules. So if you can agree on rules, then you’re already ahead of the game. Now, it doesn’t mean that it will be easy to follow those rules to start with.
Jolene: Right, especially if the habits are bad to begin with.
Eric: Right, so you have to break habits, but even write down the rules. I don’t want to call them rules, let’s call them guidelines.
Jolene: Let me back up here for a minute, because when I was a young mom and I was raising these darling two and four-year-olds, we had rules. Like, “If you do this, this is the consequence.” Now, I’m not going to say as a couple you would have the consequence, but there was an outline there on how you were going to govern the children.
Jolene: For some reason, the husband and wife don’t sit down and have a guideline on how are we going to talk about, you know some of the tough issues, like when you get hurt because you automatically go into default. You go into default mode, and how you were raised, how you saw your parents engage in arguments and so forth, is pretty much how you’re going to do it as a couple.
Jolene: Ok, so why is it ok if mom creates a little chart for what Jr. and Sally are going to have to do, but you wouldn’t sit down as a couple, saying, “Hey, what do you think about this?” Because it’s a preventative measure to make your marriage better.
Eric: Of course and everyone has some sort of organization in some part of their life.
Jolene: Hey, I organize my Tupperware, but don’t ask me to organize the communication in my marriage, because that would just seem absurd, right?
Eric: (laughing) Right. I mean you go out in the garage and the guy has all the wrenches in one place. Right, and all the screwdrivers in one place.
Jolene: So they’re always reacting or responding in the negative.
Eric: Ok, so Hun, why can’t we do that?
Jolene: I’ll tell you why…
Jolene: Here’s why. As a wife, this is how I look at it. I go back to, I’m that young bride, new believer, and I see that the Bible says, “the husband is the head of the home.” So I’m thinking ok, husband, when are you going to step up and lead, when are you going to come to me with a guideline on how we should communicate?
Eric: Ok. And here’s the husband’s side of that. I’m new at this, no one has taught me this, I read it in the Bible. That’s all I know about this. So I need your help, Ok. Husbands, look, if you go to your wife and say, “look I want to lead, but I don’t know how to do it very well, I need your help because we are one.” She’s going to have a different view point towards you rather than a more critical viewpoint.
Jolene: Absolutely. Well, and we were designed to be the helper, little h, not capital H. Capital H is the Holy Spirit, Helper.
Jolene: Here is what I want the wife to hear. It is ok to go to your husband, to be that helper, to be that cultivator of the relationship. I’m constantly using that term: Being the cultivator of the relationship, because I want wives to realize that they don’t have to take a backseat to their marriage, expecting that their husband is going to come in with all this grandiose vision of a Biblical marriage. Because Adam was alone, he needed a woman, ok?
Jolene: God designed the wife to come alongside and say, “what do you think about this?” “What about that?” We are more gifted in the relational skills than the husband, not always, but for the most part, the female is more relational.
Eric: You’re designed for relationships.
Jolene: Right. Now unless you were kind of raised by wolves, kind of like in my situation, you’re defunct at relationships. Ok.
Eric: But you’ve learned.
Jolene: But I’ve learned. I want that wife to feel like, “Hey, this is the marriage that God has blessed me with, and this is the man, and if I can help him…” What man wouldn’t want to know that there are some ways to go about in communicating and resolving conflict in their marriage? Who would raise their hand and say, “Yeah, I am all for that.” Because there is conflict in every marriage. In my marriage, I want about three minutes of conflict, not three hours. Big difference there; because I want to resolve it.
Eric: You know what? Absolutely, absolutely. And this may be stupid, and this is my own little idiosyncrasy here but I hate the term, especially in the church, of learn how to fight fair. Ok?
Jolene: Oh, yeah. I don’t like that.
Eric: Because you aren’t learning to fight. This is not learn to fight. That’s stupid. That’s the world’s viewpoint.
Eric: Learn how to resolve conflict or differences.
Jolene: Or learn how to act like Jesus.
Eric: That’s right.
Jolene: You know when there is conflict, okay.
Eric: Because frankly, if I’m going to fight I ain’t fighting fair.
Jolene: No. And the fighting fair gives the impression that we are a team. Now don’t even get me started on that whole team thing. I don’t read that in the Bible. Show me the verse in the Bible that says you and your husband are a team. No, it says that we are one. So the fighting fair baloney is another way that Satan gets in and starts to create these little tears in the marriage.
Eric: And he uses different words that now gives you the right to fight. No, you don’t have the right to fight. Stop fighting.
Jolene: Right. Learn to love the way that Jesus does. Learn to communicate the way that Jesus does. Now obviously, if there’s issues in the marriage, you go to that person and say, “hey, I was offended by this.” That’s a Biblical principle. Matthew 18, if you’re offended by your brother, you go to them.
Eric: And it doesn’t say, “point your finger and say, you did this to me.”
Eric: I was offended.
Jolene: You look for the plank in your own eye.
Eric: Yes. And so it comes back to, this is how I feel. This is what is going on with me, ok. Now someone who loves you might say hey, I’m sorry about that. I didn’t want you to feel that way. They might be totally belligerent and say tough luck, that’s your own problem, ok. But you have a much better opportunity to approach them that way than to say, “You did this to me. You always do this.”
Jolene: Well, let’s look at Proverbs 15:1. It says, “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” So I kind of come at you with boxing gloves on in my mind.
Eric: Those are harsh words.
Jolene: Those are harsh words. I’m looking for a throw down, and I’m not losing. In my mind, that’s how I’m coming at you. And that will never go over well.
Eric: You think I would never lose?
Jolene: Right. You’re not looking to lose either.
Eric: That’s right.
Jolene: Neither party is looking to lose because our pride is there. Our name is there. We have to stand up for our rights.
Eric: It’s a lot harder to punch someone when they put down their hands and they sit down in a chair, rather than standing up and putting their fists up. If someone sits down in a chair and puts down their hands and says, I’m not fighting. Do you want to walk up and punch them? You might still be angry, but it’s much harder to attack someone that way, because you just feel foolish, you feel stupid.
Jolene: Well, and let’s go to the root issue, of why the argument. Why the conflict. Here’s the root issue. James 4:1, What is causing the fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires that war within you?
Jolene: So when I’m at odds with you, which I don’t like being at odds with you, ok? Because I’m not representing Jesus, or I’m thinking, What’s up with you? Why are you off?
Eric: So the selfishness says, “It’s me, it’s my rights, it’s what I want. It’s, I need to be number one, I need to be respected.” Obviously, I want to be respected.
Jolene: So you’re going to coerce me like spiritually bully me. Like that’s going to work.
Eric: For me to stand up and demand to be respected and contend to be respected.
Jolene: I’d laugh, and probably walk out.
Eric: Of course.
Jolene: I would. Because I would be like, “that’s not working.” Use a different tactic.
Eric: Right. But that’s what people do.
Eric: Me, me, me, me. Try turning that around and saying, How can I help her feel better? How is she hurt? Ok? And the same for the wives. How is he hurt? Just because he’s 6’ 4” and 280 lbs and he can bite off nails, doesn’t mean he can’t get hurt.
Jolene: He gets hurt, he just shows it in a totally different way than the wife does. Totally different. I mean, if he’s checked out, if he’s harsh, it’s because there are things that aren’t taking place in the marriage. Either the respect is not there, or she’s just coming at him all the time, and the house is filled with strife. And if you were always like that, if you were always coming at me with something, I’d never want to be home, because the home is filled with strife.
Eric: We’ve given advice in the past, let’s say that a man is upset or angry at the wife, ok?
Eric: It would be real simple for the wife to just do a couple of things. And this is what you do, you say, “Hey Hun, how can I help you today?” When he brings up something that is not sinful, you can say, that sounds like a great idea. And then if she threw in a few, you know what? You’re a great husband, you can bring that guy around so fast with that kind of treatment, rather than, you’re such a lousy guy, you don’t make enough money, you don’t spend enough time with the family, you watch too much TV, you’re playing too many video games, I have to take care of all the finances. That doesn’t bring him closer.
Jolene: No. Let’s look at some other verses here in Proverbs of resolving conflict of diffusing the wrath and anger. Again, I’m never ever, ever talking about abuse in marriage. This is typical conflict issues that couples have.
Eric: Right. If you’re abused go to the police.
Jolene: File the report. Hopefully, he’ll get thrown in jail, or she. Proverbs 16:7, When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even your enemies live at peace with you. So for me as a wife, I have to examine myself in the heat of an argument. The last thing I want to do is be humble.
Eric: So the great question to ask yourself in that situation is, “Is what I am saying right now or how I am saying it, pleasing to the Lord?”
Jolene: Right. 9 times out of 10 they’re not. Or probably 10 times out of 10. Really it’s not.
Eric: But if it was, the other person would come around.
Jolene: Right. Proverbs 17:9: Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates the closest friends. And so one of the things we teach couples is, do you know your script? Because conflict comes, feelings get hurt, and when I’m talking to the wife, you have to let him know you were hurt by this. “I was hurt by this, I felt this way.” And the husband’s response would be, “I”m sorry will you forgive me and vice versa.” Because those are Biblical steps to resolving issues.
Eric: Ok, so let’s say that again, Everyone repeat after me. I’m sorry will you forgive me? Simple, simple, right?
Jolene: Hey, but wait a minute. I don’t really feel that.
Eric: It doesn’t matter if you feel it, ok? As believers, we’re not called to “feel” something. We’re called to obedience.
Jolene: It’s a simple message, the Gospel message. This is what Jesus said, FOLLOW ME.
Eric: Right, and if you love me, you’ll obey my commandments.
Jolene: You’ll obey me! And how many people don’t obey His word? Yet the word gives life.
Eric: The actions come first, and then the feelings follow, ok.
Jolene: Right. But I don’t love her and I’m not sorry. Or I don’t Iove him and I’m not sorry. Then you have to really ask yourself who is the Lord of your life?
Eric: If Jesus is not your Lord, then you’re lost already and we can’t help you.
Jolene: Right, but they could be saved. They have fire insurance, they’re going to heaven, but Jesus is not the Lord of their life.
Eric: OK, so that’s a great conversation, we’ll have that some time.
Jolene: We’ll have that some other time. Here’s another one. Proverbs 17: Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of sacrifices filled with strife. If your house is filled with strife, look to undo it. Have that conversation with your spouse and go out and go on that date. And if you can’t afford it go out and sit on a park bench somewhere. Watch your kids play on the playground and ask, What kind of marriage do you want?
Eric: And that verse, sets up priorities. Because if you just talk about the verse itself, it talks about feasting with strife, a dry morsel is better. Basically, you have some dry piece of jerky to eat but you have peace in the house, versus, big parties and celebrations and animosity and strife. So set those priorities, in your home, Ok. Just a side note, how many times do we clean up the house for a guest, but we don’t do it for our own family or spouse or that kind of thing.
Jolene: Yeah. I can remember as a kid, when we’d have family over for holiday stuff. I had a parent who would go into a full blown fit of rage to get the home right. And I’m like who’s coming over? And when I was told who was coming over, and I’m like, Are they the queen of England or something? No it was just an aunt. But my parent wanted to portray our life to look a certain way. I’m thinking, this is all just a big, fat farce. We’re not really like this. So it bothered me that a mask was put on.
Eric: The priorities were out of order.
Jolene: Yes. And it goes back to, “what kind of atmosphere are you setting in your home?” Are you kinder to others than you are to your spouse? And when you do have conflict, are you reverting back to how your parents dealt with it? Are you seeking wisdom, to resolve conflict the way God would have you to do it? Or do you have to win the fight?
Eric: I lost my train of thought. I’m losing my mind.
Jolene: We talked about our priorities if you’re in a home where there’s a lot of conflict…
Eric: I know what I wanted to say. Let’s say there isn’t a conflict right now…
Jolene: there will be.
Eric: Let’s say there’s not. Ok. There’s still resentment from past conflicts. A lot of time that resentment fuels future conflicts or there wouldn’t be any conflicts if it wasn’t for those past conflicts, you have to go back and forgive, both of you.
Eric: You have to commit to forgive because if you don’t, you’re not going to fix it. You’re going to continue on.
Jolene: That’s the Proverbs that I talked about. Proverbs 17:9: Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separate close friends. So if you have unresolved conflict that has festered in your heart, that’s made your heart hard, which is certainly possible. You’ve gone years and years and years, you don’t know how to resolve the conflict, it’s falling on deaf ears, and you are like, why bother? But then you have tomorrow, and the next day and the next day. And here’s the bottom line, what type of marriage do you want to cultivate? Because God gives you a new day everyday and you might have to go back and say, I was really hurt over these things, I want to move on, do YOU want to move on? A lot of times the wife, if she just asks the husband questions, like is this the type of marriage that you want, do you want to stay at this level? Do you want more? Do you want a better way to deal with our arguments when we have them?
Eric: I mean you could just say, Hey, we don’t act like friends, but we’ve been here for a long time, and neither one of us has decided to go somewhere else, wouldn’t it be good if we were friends?
Jolene: Right, and usually I see the wife having to do that. Ok. Because again, she’s more of the relational one. And I think that men probably have way more pride going on than a woman. But not always.
Eric: Men will check out, they’ll just check out.
Jolene: Do they check out because they don’t know how to draw her close?
Eric: They don’t, because they’re just tired of it. I’d rather just go far off, I’d rather just spend time in the garage, I’d rather be away, I’d rather just ignore it than..
Jolene: Resolve it.
Jolene: Because I would think a woman is more apt to want to resolve it.
Eric: I’m sure she is. Yes, absolutely.
Jolene: So, if that is you as a wife that’s listening and you have contentions in your marriage, strife or some unresolved stuff, I would invite him out on a date. I would set a very sweet atmosphere to have some of those conversations. And if you don’t have enough self-control, go to a restaurant so you don’t get into an argument.
Eric: And here’s the deal. You can talk to other people without getting into an argument, why can’t you talk with each other? It’s because there’s hurt there.
Jolene: There’s hurt. That’s a different episode. That’s the vulnerable episode.
Eric: Right, but you could say to your spouse, hey, isn’t this interesting that we can get along with other people, but can’t get along with each other? Obviously, we both have some hurt.
Jolene: Right. So what do you want husband? Do you want a better relationship? You might look at me and say, NO, because you’re afraid.
Eric: Right, I’m afraid that you’re going to hurt me again.
Jolene: Or you’re like hopeless thinking I don’t see anything changing. In our human nature, we think that. There’s no hope there. That’s how the enemy wants us to think. Oh, you’ve been down this road, you’re going to try and fix it again.
Eric: Right, so as believers, you have to rid your mind of all that garbage the enemy has told you through the world. You’ve got to go back to the Bible. You have to ask yourself every time you have an attitude, is this a Biblical attitude?
Jolene: Even if you don’t know the word. When I didn’t know the word, I just didn’t see Jesus acting like this, and then I’d have the Holy Spirit saying to me, “Stop running your mouth. Shut it!”
Eric: You had a conscience.
Jolene: Right, so I think some of those simple conversations to have is, “Do you want a better marriage, do you want to resolve the conflict a little bit better?” Hey, what do you think about this, if we have some rules of engagement, of resolving the conflict. And what do you think about getting out of the conflict as quick as possible? Because who wants to be in a home filled with strife for three hours after each argument? I knew early on this is not how I want it to be. So I sought out the scriptures to give me the tools to engage with you. Did my flesh like it? NO, because I hate humility. I love it on someone else, but I don’t want to do the hard work to get there.
Eric: Seek the word. Set some guidelines, agree on some guidelines.
Jolene: I would even make a cute thing like, if you’re into Pinterest, art or graphic, kind of draft up some rules of engagement.
Eric: You could write out, “In this house, we do not swear at each other, in this house we do not raise our voice….
Eric: And just make it something fun. And people will walk in and say, wow, that’s really neat, I like that!
Jolene: Right, You might have to put it front and center. It might have to be in every single bathroom mirror. Depending on the severity of where the tension is in the home.
Eric: Because you have to agree on those standards, you have to seek the Lord. You have to change attitudes and actions. A lot of times, you’ve had bad habits for a very long time.
Eric: So you have to be conscious and deliberate about changing actions and attitudes.
Jolene: If you focus on the Lord, and the word of God, your feelings will follow, but the problem is we focus more on our feelings.
Eric: Me, me, me..
Jolene: I might even go so far to do little rules of engagement for our family, to give the wife, most likely it’s a woman listening to this, to give her that launching pad to create her own for her own family. For me, my transformation in life, always, always comes from the word of God. Always. That is what I have to hold on to in my mind.
Eric: That’s a great idea. Now or later, you’ll do that?
Jolene: By the time this podcast airs, I might have something on my site. It’s not hard to type up a bunch of scripture.
Eric: I get it. So you can do that. Let’s go through some of them right now, ok.
Jolene: Ok. We’re not going to swear at each other.
Eric: We’re not going to swear at each other. We will NEVER mention divorce to each other.
Eric: We don’t raise our voices. We don’t slam doors, right.
Eric: What else? We don’t say “You”.
Eric: I feel..
Jolene: We have our script of, I’m sorry, will you forgive me? My boys have been raised up on that and it’s so interesting to me because I have read differing views on that. Moms will say, I won’t make my kids, and I knew moms like that. “I won’t make my kid apologize until he feels it.” And I’m like, Wow, that’s something. Mind you, coming from a believer, a friend of mine, and I’m thinking..
Eric: Let me tell you, that’s absolutely wrong, ok. That’s absolutely wrong. Teach the action, get the kids in the habit of having that action, then you can have their attitude follow, but if you’re waiting for the attitude…
Jolene: Yeah, I see my kids today, wow, they are able to forgive really, really quick. Real quick because of how they were raised up. I had a lot of undoing because what I saw in my home was to respond in my emotions. Anyways. Know your script of, “I’m sorry, will you forgive me?”
Eric: And forgive, I mean.
Jolene: It’s a choice. Forgiveness is a choice. You could say it’s a feeling but that’s not biblical.
Eric: Right, right. And look, you can forgive, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have standards.
Jolene: It doesn’t mean you forget.
Jolene: They’re not the same thing.
Eric: That’s the whole point. So it doesn’t mean that, “Oh she forgave me, so I can go back and just slap her tomorrow. No, it doesn’t work that way. Have some standards. We just mentioned several standards right there, or how we treat each other.
Jolene: Have a soft word…
Eric: The Bible says don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. Right, so you might say hey, I don’t care what type of work I do, we’re going to not to bed unless we resolve this.
Jolene: You might not have an answer to the problem, but you make sure that your hearts are at least knit back together. You and I might not be able to solve the issue at hand but we’re not at odds.
Eric: But the conflict is always, “I was hurt.”
Jolene: Yes. I was hurt, or I don’t agree with your position. For example, As a wife, You want to do A) and I think you should do B) for the family and I don’t agree with it.
Eric: So here’s the deal. Am I in sin? If I’m not in sin…
Jolene: But there’s so much more to it than that, in a wife’s mind. There’s so much more to it than that.
Eric: Yeah, but not more to that in the Bible.
Jolene: I understand that, but again that’s another topic for a different day.
Eric: There’s so much freedom in that.
Jolene: Yes but, there’s also an awful lot of fear.
Eric: I get it.
Jolene: Which is another level of being a woman and following the lead of a husband. It’s like you’re crazy, I don’t want to follow you, I don’t trust you, you’re going to make poor decisions. But anyway. Different episode.
Eric: Right. So those are some of the rules we set up. I set up another one. You would use a term, you would say, “I’m done.” For me, I didn’t like that. It was too close to divorce, ok. You didn’t mean it that way.
Eric: You meant, I’m done with this conversation.
Jolene: (laughing) I’m done with this conversation.
Eric: But I had to say that you can’t say you’re done, use different words. That doesn’t sit well with me.
Jolene: And the other things that I would say to you in the midst of a disagreement, “Don’t raise your voice.” And you’re thinking, I’m not raising my voice. But to me the tone was too harsh or too sharp or it made me feel emotionally disconnected and at odds. It was too much. It was kind of like based on what I had come from, you need to tone it down.
Eric: Right. Those guidelines alone right there are great guidelines if they can follow some of those.
Jolene: Right. Simple ones. Will give them a launching pad. I think this will give them the tools to go in the direction of how to Biblically resolve some conflict. Because there will be conflict. You are two imperfect sinners, in your home, living together. You’re not going see eye to eye on everything, misunderstandings will take place. Miscommunication will take place. And then you have an adversary in your marriage.
Eric: Here’s what’s really interesting. When the cop pulls you over, normally you don’t curse at them.
Jolene: Hopefully not.
Eric: Or be rude to them. Because there’s an authority there. When you’re dealing with your spouse, you have to realize that the authority of God is right there.
Eric: In as much as you’ve done it to the least of my brethren, you’ve done it unto me. So you have to look at that situation as if God the authority, is right there.
Jolene: Right, who is the Lord of your life, and what kind of marriage do you want to build? Those are the two things that drive me as to why I do the things I do. Who’s the Lord of my life and what kind of marriage do I want to build. So that puts me in a position of where I don’t have to feel like I just have to go along for the ride. Anyways so those are my thoughts.
Eric: They’re great thoughts as usual.
Jolene: Thanks. I’m Jolene Engle at joleneengle.com
Eric: And I’m Eric Engle you can find me at ericandjolene.com
Jolene: Until next time.
Want a list of guidelines? You can download and print it out here.
Live a poured out life for Christ,