There is conflict in almost every marriage. In 100% of the marriages, there is going to be conflicts.
There is a healthy way to handle conflicts and there is unhealthy way. If we are not taught the healthy way then we are automatically going to default to the unhealthy way. This is why the topic is "Fighting Fair". We are all going to be in those situations where there is going to be a fight erupt. If you are sitting there saying that has never happened you are either telling a lie or somebody is compromising. There is always going to be opportunities for conflict.
In 1Corinthians 13:1-13 Paul describes if you have these amazing gifts or abilities to have faith to move mountains, to sacrificially give, even serve in a way that would sacrifice your body; Paul is saying these are wonderful qualities to have. Read 1Corinthians 13:1-13 now.
The world's idea of love is very different than God's idea of love.
Our culture has made love into something that is closer to lust than it is love. It is putting all our emphasis on the physical and the sexual, but love is much deeper than that.
When you get married or you are in a relationship, dating, you are bringing two individuals together from very different backgrounds. They have been raised in different homes, maybe with different values, and different customs. They probably have different ways of doing things and you take these two individuals that have totally different upbringings, putting them together in one house. . .then the fight begins.
There are going to be those statements such as:
"You're not doing that the way my mother did it."
"You're not doing that the way my dad did it, or my family did it."
The following is the Message Bible version of 1Corinthians 13:1-13.
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.
3 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
4 Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head,
5 Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
6 Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
7 Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
8 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit.
9 We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete.
10 But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
All Couples Fight
Here is the reality. . .All couples fight!
The reason is because we are all sinners. We all have fallen short of the glory of God.
All of our sinfulness leads us to do selfish things. James 4:1 says, What causes fights and quarrels among you?
The answer to this is "You do not have what you want."
This is the root to every argument, the root of every conflict, the root of every fight:
You do not have what You what!
You want something and you are not getting it and there is going to be a conflict, a disagreement or an argument. It could become a complete knockdown, drag-out fight.
Our sinfulness leads us to the inevitable in any relationship where true intimacy occurs.
Where you have an intimate relationship there is more opportunity for conflict because, if you don't love a person, you just do not care. But if you do love them, you care deeply.
Healthy loving couples fight, but they fight fair. Unhealthy couples fight dirty.
Unhealthy couples fight dirty with below the belt jabs, succor punches, angry accusations, and bitter grudges.
Healthy couples fight for resolutions while unhealthy couples fight for personal victory.
Dr. John Gaultman, a marriage specialist and researcher, published a fascinating study on how couples fight. He drew from data that he compiled over sixteen years, and he claimed that he could observe a couple arguing for just five minutes and determine with 91% accuracy whether that couple would remain together or whether they would divorce. His research makes a compelling argument that relationship success is based on not whether you fight, because all couples fight, but on HOW YOU FIGHT.
Healthy couples fight and argue with respect for each other, working together towards a solution that they can agree on.
Have you ever had an argument or disagreement with someone you care about?
Someone you dated, married, or even work with. If you are honest, you will be included in this because all couples fight.
What God is teaching us in this is when you say, "I love you", and you truly love the way that God loves, that changes the way you treat the other person. If you are a child of God, you call yourself a believer, the Word of God is very animate, that we cannot say we love God if we don't love other people (John 4:20).
You can't say you love God if you don't love your spouse, if you don't love your family, if you don't love people. The two greatest commands Jesus said are, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself." (Matthew 22:36-39).
Love Redefines How You Fight
Love will redefine how you fight, how you argue, and how you disagree.
If you win the argument most of the time with your spouse, you're really losing the battle.
The goal is not just to win, the goal is for your relationship to win by coming to an understanding.
There are five lessons that will help you move from dirty fighting to fair fighting. These are listed in 1Corinthians Chapter 13 of the Message Bible.
Lesson 1: Love cares more for others than for self. (verse 4)
I have a sponge here [he is holding in his hand]. When you have a sponge full of liquid and you put pressure to it by squeezing it, the sponge dumps all the liquid out [he squeezes the sponge and it releases the liquid]. A sponge is an amazing object because you can take water, fill the sponge with water or liquid and wash things like your car or whatever. When the pressure is put to the sponge whatever is on the inside is going to come out.
Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34).
When you get into an argument where you are going at it with you spouse, things are being said, and whatever is in your heart is going to come out. If mean things are coming out, those things are what is in your heart.
If you're cussing your spouse out or your using profanity, that is what is in your heart.
If you are just throwing things or tearing things up, wanting to do that action is what is in your heart. Whatever is in you when the pressure is applied, it is coming out.
When you are involved in any kind of relationship, whether dating or marriage, you must be honest and get it off of your chest. When you live with someone that is different than you, there will be areas that you do not agree on and it is going to come out in an argument or a fight. When you live with somebody the things they do that are different, are going to begin to annoyed you. You find yourself married to this prince in shining armor or the beautiful princess that you thought could do no wrong, then all of the sudden they are doing things that annoy you:
They are not going to fold the towels the way you fold the towels.
They are not going to squeeze the tooth paste the way you do.
Any time when you are out eating and you ask them where would they like to go or what do they want to eat and they will say, "I don't care, I don't know, what do you want."
Husbands you are going to throw your socks on the floor when it is much easier to pick them up and go five feet more and place them in the hamper.
Whether to put the toilet tissue roll on the holder with it going down or with it going under
These are annoyances that we all do.
These can become big annoyances if we let them.
The devil can use these to cause divisions in the home.
When the differences in your relationship starts being annoyances you have to practice this first lesson in fighting fair which is: You care more for others than yourself.
Using the sponge as your illustration that love absorbs annoyances as the sponge does liquid.
What if we did not make such a big deal over the small annoyances?
What if we chose to just overlook it and say to yourself, "Overall that is not that important. That is not the way I would do it but it really is not that important that I need to cause a fight. I need to let my love absorb this annoyance and not let it bother me."
Instead we just want to get this off my chest. Even though you went before a minister and said, "I will love you from this day forward", and "I will love you for better or for worst".
We tend to just want the happiness and being together part.
We forget the worst part when we just want to get married.
We forget the sickness and the health, the richer or poorer.
This is not multiple choice! It is a commitment that you are going to take this person under any of these conditions and we must learn to let the sponge of love absorb the annoyances.
This application could probably remove fifty percent of all the arguments you may have.
Remember that Love cares about the other person first and this same love will absorb annoyances to where they will not bother you the same way.
When you start applying this it will change the things you argue about.
What would happen if when you were annoyed you stopped and prayed?
What if you asked God if this annoyance is worth approaching?
Lesson 2: Love does not fly off the handle. (verse 5)
I have a frying pan to illustrate the fact that love does not fly off the handle [holding up a frying pan].
If this was sitting on a burner and there would be fire under it. Those annoyances, if they are not handled properly begin to heat up. Things in your marriage can begin to get heated up the same way. The little annoyances can begin to be more than they are and they build into real issues that start heating up. We all know what each other's hot buttons are. Sometimes we begin to fight dirty by bringing up those hot buttons. Then we begin to say things that are very hurtful or we begin saying things that are very hateful. The husband will push the button and the wife begins to heat up. Then she retaliates by pushing one of her husband's hot button. Thy keep going back and forth and the heat gets higher and higher as things get to the boiling point. And now what started out as a simple annoyance has grown into a full blown out argument. As the frying pan gets hotter and hotter one of you lose it and they fly off the handle at the other. They go into a rage, saying things that you regret latter; things that are very hurtful and things that you will never forget.
We need to learn how to handle our anger issues so it does not become abusive or destructive. When these hot buttons are pushed the words used can begin to be verbally abusive. Then if you do not watch what you are doing it can become emotionally abuse, where you are just trying to destroy the other person. This can even escalate into physical abuse if not corrected or controlled. At this point men are hitting their wives, or even women who hit their husbands. This of course is very much out of the will of God. We need to be very careful that we do not fall into these type patterns.
You might think this is just who you are.
We cannot make excuses how we are.
When it comes to personality, be yourself.
God made us all different; some are introverts, some are extraverts, and some are loud, while others are quite.
When it comes to character, be like God.
God would never try to hurt us.
The Bible says for husbands to love their wives as Jesus loved the church and give himself for it (Eph 5:25).
God calls selfish anger and rage a sin.
We do not get to indulge in sin just because we feel like it.
We do not get to indulge in sin because that is the way we react.
That is not an excuse, you cannot hide behind it.
We have to deal with our own sin.
Deal with it by confessing it, learn to control it, give it to God and ask him to help you.
We must allow the Holy Spirit to convict us and give us victory in these areas.
When it comes to maturity, grow up.
Get better and quit handling things the way you did when you were kids.
We say, "I'm not getting what I want".
We throw our little temper tantrum.
We withhold and not let people play with us or with our toys.
We are selfish.
We react like children.
Learn to move beyond the way of reacting like a child, learn to grow.
When it comes to anger we do not want to fly off the handle, instead we want to become like Teflon and let things roll off.
Lesson 3: Love does not keep score of wrongs. (verse 5)
When your spouse or someone you are dating says or does something wrong, you begin to keep a list.
"She hurt me there, what she said, that hurt me."
"What he did there, that made me made."
"I won't forget that, that was just wrong."
"I'll never let her live that down."
"I will get him back one day."
"He should have never said that to me."
Our nature says you need to hold on to these things because one day you are going to need them.
We get to where we want to use things against your spouse. You want to pull them out when that time comes you need them to get back.
It does not matter if it happened twenty years ago,
"I remember when you. . . "
"I remember back in 1973 you forgot is was our anniversary!"
"I remember the time that I told you I wanted you to do . . .and you let me down. . .you did not come through on that."
"That is just the way you are. You have a pattern, a habit of not doing the things I ask you even though I asked you to do it. . ."
We begin to make these lists and we want to hold on to them because you want to make sure in the future when you get into an argument you have a record of these things point back to.
"You upset me when you did that."
"You ticked me off."
"I am glad you brought that up because I want you to know. . ."
When you use a list you are trying to use it to trash the other person.
You are not trying to resolve that conflict, you just want to trash them.
You want to make them feel miserable.
You want the make them feel small; that they are not the man or woman they ought to be.
Love trashes the list.
You do not want to trash your spouse, you loved one, you want to trash the list.
Throw the list in the trash, not your loved one. You do not need all that from the past.
Love does not keep a score of the wrongs.
These things are not just in marriage, but this happens in everyday life also.
"Bless God, I am not going to speak to them, they did not speak to me."
"The Pastor is not speak to me today."
"Why were they so short with me today?"
"What is wrong with them?"
"I will remember you did that."
People get so offended when we ought to be able to get past these things.
Be mature enough that you can give the person a benefit of a dought that maybe they had their mind on something that occupied them. Maybe they did not get a good night sleep or they are upset about something. Maybe they are just not on top of their game at that moment.
We are told in Colossians, Forgive each other as Christ has forgiven us. (Colossians 3:13)
The reason I want to be merciful to other people is because I want other people to be merciful with me. I want to show mercy and not be so hard on everybody because one day I will need them to show that same mercy towards me.
Husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the church and give himself for her. (Ephesians 5:25)
Come on husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.
Wives respect your husbands.
It is unbelievable the women that are constantly dogging their husbands by saying things like:
"He is about the most sorry thing"
"He don't have a bit of motivation"
"He is just lazy"
And on. . And on. . .and On . . .with absolutely no respect.
This process is a two way street.
If the husband will love the wife as Christ did, then the wife will show him respect.
Lesson 4: Love is not always me first. (verse 5 and 6)
Love hears before it is heard.
Men, ladies like to be heard first before you go out and start fixing things. Ladies just wanting you to listen. Don't try to fix it, just hear what they have to say. This is very hard for me as a man because I always want to fix things. I want to figure out how to take care of it. Many times I am thinking when talking to my wife, "I can take stop this conversation right now and in five seconds take care of this problem." But that is not what the women wants. They want you to first listen because love hears before it is heard.
We need to learn to listen. Listening is a lost art in the day in which we live. No one is wanting to listen they only want to tell. It says in the Message Bible 1Corinthians 13:6, [Love] Doesn't revel when others grovel. . . We truly need to learn to listen.
Lesson 5: Love does not want what it does not have. (verse 4)
I have this clear measuring cup [he is holding it in his hand] to illustrate how everyone is like this measuring cup. Because it is clear everyone can see inside this measuring cup, illustrating everyone can see inside us and see what our desires are, and see what we really want.
Love does not want what it does not have.
All of us have a certain amount of things in our lives that God has given us, but we tend to compare what we have been given with other.
We look around and say things like:
"I wished I had a marriage like. . ."
"I wished I had a spouse like. . ."
"I wished I had as many friends on Facebook as they have"
"I wished I had their car"
"I wished I had their house"
"I wished I had their family"
1Corinthinians 13 tells us that love is content (verse 4).
Love is content because love does not want what it does not have.
Discontent will undo you.
Discontent will cause you to think that everything in your life is bad.
A missionary went to the remote jungle and he was trying to promote the gospel of Jesus. He was standing on a hill, looking over this very poor and impoverished village as he was talking to the tribal leader and he said,
"I don't understand, in every other village I have been very successful in spreading the gospel, but in this village it has been very difficult for them to receive Christ. I don't know what the problem is?" The tribal leader said one word, "Materialism!"
The missionary replied, "Materialism! How can you say materialism, this is one of the poorest villages. I am looking at it and they barely have anything?"
The tribal leader said,
"When a man gets a thatched hut, then he wants a stone hut. And when he gets a stone hut, then he wants a still roof. When a man gets one cow, then it is not long before he wants two cows."
The missionary said, "It never dawned on me that it is everywhere, materialism."
We live in such a materialistic society that we are never satisfied.
A lot of times the dissatisfaction that we can have with our spouse, it is not that we are so dissatisfied with our spouse or our family, it is that we are looking around and see what we don't have instead of being content with what we do have. Then you get where you want what you don't have so much and you become discontent in your heart.
You start wishing you had their clothes, their car, their house.
Then you begin saying,
"If my husband was a provider like their husband."
"If my wife fixed up herself like his wife fixed herself up."
Then you begin to compare by looking around more and you become discontent with what you have.
You start measuring yourself by what others have and it starts allowing other people to notice you are discontent in life.
God does not want us to do this because Love is content.
Love rejoices over what it has.
If you will be consistent to apply the Word of God in your life and you are willing to love your spouse by applying these five applications to the things you disagree with, you can fight fair and have a final result of still being in love long after you have gone through an argument. Love is the greatest way to overcome any disagreement and using 1Corinthians Chapter 13 as your standard for disagreeing, will allow your relationship to win and not loose.