Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Conflict in families is inevitable; and conflict will either bring you closer together or slowly tear you apart. “Being ready” for a good fight is a proactive step that will help ensure that your conflict will bring you closer together. A good fight occurs when family members remain loving and respectful during the conversation so that they are able to work together as a team to solve the problem rather than using the problem as an excuse to verbally attack a family member.
The first step to being ready for a good fight is to Crucify Yourself. The natural state of humanity is to always want your own way. Yet, Romans 6:6 tells us, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (NIV). It is not that you should never get what you want, but you should have an attitude that is open to all possibilities. The only way to do that is to crucify yourself with Christ and yet live.
Heed God’s Word is step two. Proverbs 10:17 tells us, “He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray” (NIV). Discipline yourself to affirm that God’s Word has the answers to your problem, and embrace the truth therein. Do not lead your family astray by ignoring it.
Step three is Resist Temptations. Verbally assaulting someone, using hurtful words, and using the silent treatment are examples of temptations that will impair your ability to have a good fight. First Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man, and God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But, when you are tempted, he will always provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (NIV). God will help you avoid these if you have already crucified yourself and are open to the correction God’s Word gives.
Step four involves Investigating God’s Way or the practical application of God’s Word. Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV). Notice that you are investigating God’s Word before you even talk with your spouse or other family member. You may need to talk to someone that can help you find the practical application for your particular problem.
Step five is to Submit to Servant/Leadership. For many people the word “submit,” which is found in Ephesians 5:22, is a struggle. “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (NIV) whereas husbands are told to “Love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her” (NIV). Many times conflicts are a power struggle. Husbands, when you think of your responsibility based on Ephesians 5:25, always keep Philippians 2:5–11 in mind as well. Even though God ordained you as the “head” (Ephesians 5:23) your job is to humble yourself and serve your wife with servant/leadership. Wives, as a marital partner of equal value, it is not your job to be anyone’s doormat. Rather, partner with your spouse with an attitude that allows you to work together to solve the problem that is invading the intimacy of your relationship.
Step six is to Talk to Each Other. Ephesians 4:15 states, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (NIV). You are now ready to have the conversation that will involve respect for each other. When you successfully solve the problem, you will be closer to each other and the conflict will not have torn you apart.
You might be wondering how you can remember all of that. Notice the first letter of each phrase:
H—eed God’s Word
I—nvestigate God’s Way
S—ubmit to Servant/Leadership
T—alk to Each Other
Conflict is inevitable in families. It will either bring you closer or tear you apart. If your conflict remains, seek some guidance from a trusted pastor, counselor, or friend; but always be prepared to have a “good fight.”