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, conclusions are wrong.
And the Bible is pretty clear about how we are to engage in conflict.
Matthew 7:15 tells us not to judge, yet we do anyway, assuming the worst from the person we’re in conflict with. Time and time again, I keep seeing each person in a conflict make an assumption that is wrong – then react to that assumption. And then the cycle starts – and it’s ALL based on lies. True, some conflicts are grounded in true differences of opinion. But, even within those, we judge and make conclusions and then end up in the midst of something painful, sometimes damaging a relationship. Two common misconceptions are pervasive: 1) I feel bad, therefore someone other than me is responsible for how I feel, and 2) I know what you are thinking when you say that thing that hurt me. I have yet to see a conflict situation where someone practices “reflective listening” go badly.
We have to start looking at “defensiveness” as a “cue” to seek Truth.
Instead of a reason to argue and defend ourselves.
So ask a question. Reflect back to your husband what you think he is saying. When we do this (see yesterday’s post http://ninaroesner.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/how-to-calm-down-an-angry-husband/), we diffuse the emotion. We act like grown ups. We resolve conflicts well.
And we honor God.
And our marriages then represent Christ and His church.
We are looking for an army of women who are interested in becoming “relationship architects” by answering the call of becoming godly wives.
Are you in?
Thank you for something so obvious, yet something that I do every.single.time i fight with my husband. I love your blog… keep it up!
God is so good – trust me, I don’t write it, He does! 🙂
Well…what if it is NOT based on lies? Like your kid tells you it’s perfectly acceptable and even admirable to date unbelievers? After getting over my shock, I finally turned to the scripture with said child and challenged her to “believe God rather than her own opinion”. I have one daughter married, and that to an unbeliever, so yes I am alarmed at the prospect of more unbelieving spouses in the future. 🙁
Julia – GREAT question!
And I know your mother’s heart must be aching over this! I hope to encourage you….
You are absolutely right – what you have here is a conflict that IS based on Truth. And we’ve seen that especially with teenagers and young adults, who are trying to establish their independence, we need to ask questions, demonstrate that we fully understand their position, and love them regardless, and continue dialogue over the course of days, weeks, and months.
If we shove Truth down their throats, we can guarantee nearly 100% of the time, they’ll comply only if they have to, and as soon as our backs are turned, or they are on their own, they’ll do what they want anyway – usually the opposite of what we want for them. Much of this is bred out of their natural desire to become independent.
By removing staunch in-your-face opposition, we create a safe place for relationship, for trust, a safe place for godly INFLUENCE – which is much better, because they can’t hear us when their hearts are set firmly in rebellion. I am 100% sure I could argue my kids right out of the Kingdom through my judgmental responses to the choices they make. I also know, that even if I do that (which I really hope I don’t, because that makes it harder for them to follow Him) my Lord is bigger than any mistakes I make in raising my kids – and there have been and will be many, no matter how many books I read, seminars I attend, things I change about myself…I’ll still be human.
AND…I’m a living example of how God is bigger than our fears about our kids. My husband should NOT have married me.
I was not a Christian when we were dating.
And even though I accepted Christ at a Family Life conference a month before we got married, I didn’t behave like a Christian or even really begin to understand what that even meant for the first 3 years we were married.
God’s in the Transformation business. 🙂
Oh, amen for that!
Train up a child in the way he should go AND WHEN HE IS OLD he will not depart from it – so what age is that? I dunno. Jury’s out on my people (and yes, I hope they marry Christians, and we’re doing everything we can to set that up, but they might not) until they’re in their 80’s. 🙂
Love to you, and be encouraged! Abba Father loves them even more than we can imagine… 🙂
Love this! It’s so true that we women often ‘know’ what someone else is thinking – and we create drama and hurt for ourselves and others based on a lie.
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