Page 8 - October 2021 - Truth & Tidings
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The Inevitable                        a confession from a man who grew up on
          Although spoken in a different context,   inner-city playgrounds and developed a
        the words of the Lord Jesus are equally   fierce competitive desire to win at all costs.
        applicable to marriage: “It must needs be   I ultimately discovered that, in human
        that offences [stumblings] come” (Mat 18:7   relationships, it was the perfect formula
        KJV). Two human beings in the closest and   for losing.
        most invested of human relationships are   The Ingredients
        destined to experience conflict sometime   Do we have any scriptural guidance
        in their relationship. And this is not a   for this critical part of our married lives?
        failure or an indication that your marriage   “Work out your own salvation with fear
        is not of the Lord. Quite the opposite.   and trembling. For it is God which wor-
        As mentioned in a previous article, God   keth in you both to will and to do of his
        employs marriage to confront us with the   good pleasure” (Php 2:12,13 KJV). Paul
        need for change within ourselves. This is   addressed here an issue of contention
        all part of the curriculum in God’s educa-  between two sisters in the assembly, as
        tion and finishing school.            well as other possible problems. That is
          Sadly, we are conditioned from child-  the context. Yet the principle leaps over the
        hood (or maybe from Adam) to view each   boundaries of context and is valuable as an
        conflict as a situation in which one must   insight to the resolution of all relationship
        win and the other has to lose. When this   difficulties. I appreciate that many view
        occurs in a marriage, the reality is that no   this as an individual working out what
        one wins, and ultimately the marriage   God has worked within – our salvation.
        and both spouses lose. While one spouse   But you will indulge my view for this
        may appear to have won and obtained the   moment. (“Salvation” is used by Paul in
        desired end, he or she has really lost in   many different contexts, as in Php 1:19.)
        the eyes of the marriage partner. A small   Every relationship difficulty must be ap-
        wedge has been inserted in the “oneness”   proached with the mindset of the perfect
        of the marriage that has the potential to   example, our Lord Jesus, as given to us in
        progress deeper and to widen the gap.   verses 5-8. With that as a starting point,
        What I am positing is that when conflict   notice that the Spirit of God urges each to
        arises  in  a  marriage,  a  couple  should   take personal responsibility. We are called
        search for a win-win situation. This does   upon to work out the problem. As a couple
        not automatically mean compromise, al-  faces the reality of an issue that could
        though it might entail it. This article is not   divide them, they should recommit to a
        so much a primer on conflict resolution as   “we” mentality which views the problem

        296 TRUTH kTidings   October  2021
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