What makes you defensive is often a lie
Sometimes the only exercise we get is jumping to conclusions.
But when we land, we will frequently land on our spouse’s heart – because all too often a conclusion can be wrong – a lie.
And the Bible is pretty clear about how we are to engage in conflict.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5
Matthew 7:1-5 tells us not to judge, yet we do anyway; assuming the worst from the person with whom we’re in conflict. Time and time again, I see women in a conflict make wrong assumptions… and then react to that assumption!
A negative cycle starts – and it’s ALL based on lies. True, some conflicts are grounded in true differences of opinion. But, even within those, making judgements and conclusions sometimes damage a relationship.
Two common misconceptions are pervasive:
1) I feel bad, therefore someone other than me is responsible for how I feel.
2) I know what you are thinking when you say that thing that hurt me.
We have to start looking at “defensiveness” as a “cue” to seek Truth. Instead of a reason to argue and defend ourselves.
I have yet to see a conflict situation where someone practices “reflective listening” go badly.
So ask a question. Reflect back to your husband what you think he is saying. When we do this, we diffuse the emotion (See blog post How to Calm Down an Angry Husband). We act like grown ups. We resolve conflicts well.
And we honor God.
And our marriages then represent Christ and His church.
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