Intimacy Strengthened Through Conflict

Intimacy Strengthened Through Conflict - By Bradley D. Watson

@RickWarren: The path to intimacy is through the tunnel of conflict. Handled correctly, you grow closer. What are you pretending isn't a problem in your marriage?
As I read that statement yesterday, I began to think about many of the conflicts that Lisa and I have had over the years. I also began to think about the many couples that I have counseled. I know that I have said similar statements to people, but maybe not as fluid as this came across the first time I read it. So many times in our marriages, we tend to try to avoid conflict at all costs. We begin to believe that if we do not fight, then we must have a good if not great relationship. That is not the case most of the time. As I talked to a husband of 61 years many years ago, he told me that he and his wife never had a fight.
He was bragging on that fact. He then told me that his wife got everything that she wanted. I thought then and now "how sad for him." That couple did not have a good relationship. Yes, they stayed together for more than 60 years, which is remarkable. Yet, to say that you have never fought means that you have never expressed your own opinion. When God put Adam and Eve together in the Garden of Eden, He made them differently. God gave each one an individual set of needs and desires. He said that He made them, "male and female." Now look at your spouse. Obviously, you will see the physical differences. But, have you looked at the other differences. Do you both like exactly the same type of food? Do you like the same kind of movies? Do you like the same activities? Do you...? You should get the picture by now. You and your spouse are different from each other. You were created uniquely.
Ephesians 5:31-32 (ESV)
31 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
As Paul writes this letter to the Ephesians, he expresses what a Godly marriage looks like as it reflects Christ's relationship to the church. He uses the word "mystery" in his description of that relationship. I take the liberty to describe the intimate relationship between two distinct individuals who are to live in peace and harmony as an equal mystery. The way that is to be accomplished is by realizing that marriage is so much more than just living in the same house. Marriage is understanding that even though there are differences and conflicts, the love that is shared within the intimacy of a marriage is to grow stronger through the conflict.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
As you think about the conflicts that you have had in your relationship with your spouse, I would encourage you to memorize these verses for the next time a conflict arises. These verses along with these:
Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)
3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Will help you be strengthened in your marriage; not torn apart by the conflicts. Conflicts are inevitable. Are they strengthening your marriage? Or are they dividing you as a couple? God made you different. Celebrate those differences to show the great "mystery."
Bradley D. Watson, BCBT Directed Path Ministries Pastoral Counselor and Belief Therapist Article Source:  Article Source:

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