Thursday, 1 August 2013

What’s Your Point of View?


For anyone who has taken a psychology course you will be familiar with the following image:

There are two distinctly different images contained in this sketch, one of a lovely young woman and the other of an old lady.
The same could be said of conflict.  I can view conflict as a necessary evil in a fallen world.  There are ample versus in Scripture that reinforce the notion that conflict will always be with us.  We are constantly being encouraged to seek peace.

      ·       Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace. . . .” (Rom.14:19)

·       “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3)

·       “Make every effort to live in peace with all men. . . .” (Heb. 12:14)

While being peace keepers and peace makers are admirable traits perhaps God has a redemptive purpose for conflict.  God wants us to become more like his Son, conflict can conceivably help accomplish such a purpose.  Assume for a moment that a husband and wife are in conflict over finances.  Also assume that because of the environment in which they grew up they came to marriage with diverse views on spending, saving and debt.  Perhaps God is using this area of conflict because neither of you has a Biblical view of finance and He wants you, as a couple to grow in this area of your life.

Dave Ramsey, Christian financial expert, offers five Biblical principles that should be followed:

1)      Get out of debt.
      2)     Act your wage.

3)     Get on a budget.
      4)     Save and invest.

5)     Give.

Dave Ramsey
When it comes to conflict it is not unusual for couples to argue about the same subject for long periods of time, never bringing them to a satisfactory resolution.  Often these protracted disagreements occur because of what Emerson Eggerich calls the “Crazy Cycle”, i.e. the wife responds without respect and the husband then responds without love.   The Crazy Cycle can be started by either party.  In essence neither is obeying the Biblical mandate of love and respect called out in Ephesians 5:33 let alone solving the problem that has vexed them for so long.   How much more effective would it be to look upon the disagreement as a teachable moment, that God is using this topic or situation to grow one or both of you.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Bait and Switch

I just received a rather humorous e-mail entitled “Installing a Husband”.  It began as a letter to Tech Support and stated:                    
“Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and
noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance,
particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which operated
flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.
 In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs,
such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed
undesirable programs…”

In part Tech support answered “…keep in mind Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system…this operating system has limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly…”

This reminded me of a line from Paul Tripp who told of a couple who came to him for counseling.  The distraught wife lamented,”This is not the man I married” to which Paul responded, “No, this is the man you married, the man you dated was a fake.”

What is it that makes a woman who couldn’t spell NFL turn into a huge pro football fan? Or what would make a man who detests shopping spend hours at the mall, going from one store to another without complaining.   I’ll tell you what - it’s called dating.

In retail marketing this might be referred to as “bait and switch”.  The store offers “up to  65% off” on all items in the store.  In reality there is only one item in the store that has 65% off and it is an obsolete piece of electronics that no savvy buyer would consider.  The ad got you into the store on a false pretense.  Once there you realize that most items are 5% to 10% off.

Perhaps if you feel as though you were deceived during the dating years or if in fact you were the perpetrator of such a farce why not go to your now significant other and propose an “Annual Dating Month”.  Pick a month and each year for that month you will both willingly and gladly do the things you did when you were dating.  These could be things that you truly enjoyed together but have been less than intentional in doing them.  Or, the activities may be ones that one or the other of you said you liked to do but in reality you did not.  You were just trying to please the other.  Well if it would still please them do it during this month without grumbling and complaining.