Whether you are single, dating, engaged or married, conflict is a part of every relationship… and you don't have to be in a romantic relationship to experience miscommunication!
When it comes to our relationships, we generally go through 3 main phases. The first is the honeymoon stage - when everything seems perfect, and your partner can do no wrong in your eyes. However, this phase is often followed by disillusionment - that's when you discover you've actually married a sinner! Disillusionment shows us how much we need Christ to fill in the gaps in our relationship. It ultimately can lead us to the third and final phase, which is commitment. Here, both parts of the relationship decide to submit their individual desires to God and seek to obey Him... to sacrifice their own needs and lovingly serve one another.
See, here's the secret: God didn't design marriage to make you happy... He designed it to make you holy! Obedience to God is actually central to a relationship that is both happy and holy...That's what King Solomon and his bride discovered in Song of Solomon 5. At this point in the book, Solomon and his wife are faced with one of the root causes of conflict in a relationship:
At some point, every relationship will face a gap between expectations and reality...Whether it is about sex, chores, money, etc. If you don't clearly communicate your expectations to your partner, you can end up eating the bread of bitterness and disappointment. This leads us to the next root cause of conflict in relationships, which is:
When selfishness sneaks into a relationship, it becomes corrosive, leading to disappointment and disillusionment. If your relationship is in a tough spot, we want to give you 3 Tools to Resolve Conflict in your relationships. The first is to commit to talk, not walk!
#1) Commit To Talk, Not Walk
In Song of Solomon 5, we see Solomon and his wife struggle with the common conflicts we've identified. Then, when Solomon's wife gets out of bed, gearing up for a good fight, she finds her husband has walked away from the conflict. How do you think this made Solomon's wife feel? Walking away can be very wounding. However, Solomon's wife chose to put her husband in high esteem instead of tearing him down for his actions... which leads to the 2nd commitment:
#2) When It's Tough, Commit To Be Tender
When you face conflict, sometimes the last thing you want to do is speak tenderly. You may be tempted to defend yourself and attack the other with your words. However, lashing out in anger only makes you bitter. Instead, let the Holy Spirit lead you in your responses. The goal here is to not try and change your partner, but to let God change you. Pray for your spouse, and act in love even when it's hard. Finally, the 3rd and most important commitment for a Christ follower to make in your relationship is to:
#3) Forgive As You Have Been Forgiven
In the end of the chapter, Solomon and his bride are reconciled, and it's a beautiful picture of forgiveness. In Ephesians 4:32, we're commanded to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. See, there is a direct relationship between your horizontal relationships and your vertical relationship with your Heavenly Father... They intersect at the Cross! Friends, your most important relationships need Christ when there is a crisis - and without Jesus, your marriage will not have the power to overcome conflicts you face and the attacks of the enemy of our souls. In Christ, you can commit to following his example as you resolve conflict in your relationship!