Friday, 21 September 2012

Conflict and the Great Commandment

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 Most often by the time a couple seeks a counselor there is a fair amount of unresolved conflict.  Often there is hurt, anger, bitterness, resentment and a lack of forgiveness.  They tend to point to one another and say “if you’ll just fix him/her we’ll be fine.”  Of course they won’t be fine and no counselor in the country has the ability to help change anyone who doesn’t have the desire to change.

Oh and by the way is this the couple’s first fight or their first year of marriage?  Try their fifth or tenth year of marriage if the counselor is fortunate.  More often than not this couple has struggled for more than ten years.

Here’s a secret.  The following is from Susan Johnson’s book entitled Hold Me Tight.

      When marriages fail, it is not increasing conflict that is the cause. It is decreasing affection and emotional responsiveness, according to a landmark study by Ted Huston of the University of Texas. Indeed, the lack of emotional responsiveness rather than the level of conflict is the best predictor of how solid a marriage will be five years into it. The demise of marriages begins with a growing absence of responsive intimate interactions. The conflict comes later.

Susan Johnson
 Not nearly as learned as Susan or Ted, I have observed that problems usually show up in the bedroom before they show up anywhere else.  The husband may be feeling rejected, inadequate and as though he is a failure.  The wife may feel abandoned and/or unconnected.

How emotionally unresponsive would we be if we applied the Great Commandment to our marriage?  Is it conceivable that I would be unaware that my wife is feeling disconnected if I was attempting to love God with all my mind, heart, soul and strength AND attempting to love her as much as I love myself?  If living a Christ centered life was my wife’s desire would she not realize that I was feeling inadequate, or like a failure?

James 4:1-2 tells us that we quarrel because we don’t get out own way.  Wanting my own way doesn’t seem consistent with loving my wife as I love myself. 



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