By: Elizabeth L. Creecy
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
–2 Corinthians 10:3-4
For the sake of this writing, I will focus on the husband-and-wife relationship, however, you can use these tips for navigating conflict in all relationships!
First off, the battle is not with your spouse, that friend, the coworker, or whomever.
The battle is not against flesh and blood
If the battle is not against flesh and blood, that then removes humans TOTALLY from the battleground.
Yet, sometimes, in the HEAT of the moment, it’s not that simple to remember. That truth made me ask myself: What are some things you can start training yourself to do so you don’t fall for Satan’s bait?
FIRST: BE SLOW TO ANGER!
Learning how to maintain or gain control of yourself might take time. That’s okay. I encourage you to ask the Father and the Holy Spirit to help you with this. However, I hope this article helps you understand the biblical truths into that conflict!
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly (silliness/foolishness) (Proverbs 14:29).
Why does God want us to be slow to anger? Well, for one, it can keep those evil spirits out of you, and secondly, we are to imitate Christ! Christ only got angry at the spirits inside of people! But, let’s talk about the first reason, accidentally coming into agreement with the evil spirits behind the conflict. Again, it’s straightforward to forget the truth that we are not and NEVER will fight against humans but against those spirits.
When in conflict with people, your brain thinks you are in conflict with that person, but you are actually in conflict with the spirits within that individual. These spirits can control a person when the person gives consent. (It can be easy to give consent too). You won’t always see the spirits inside of the person, except for when those spirits are tormenting that person. If you are not careful, those spirits will manifest in you. What happens next is, both you and the person you think you are in conflict with will have spirits playing back and forth in what feels like a war zone, and you both become the victims! You both lose. The Devil has you both, and you are both experiencing his fruit: destruction, death, fear, and evil. I promise God does not want this. He wants love, compassion, sacrifice, mercy, and grace.
You are wanted as a medium of expression for the principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Remember, Satan, and his kingdom cannot manifest in the physical dimension unless they have a vessel. Until those spirits have a vessel, they are caught in a place of torment themselves, between heaven and earth. The evil spirits only have thoughts of evil but with no way to express it. They can get you to agree with them by sending that thought through your mind and hoping you use your free will to grab on to it! The manifestation looks like saying that mean or unforgiving comment or accusing your spouse of doing something, and so forth, which leads me to the second thing you can do.
SECOND: CAST DOWN ALL IMAGINATIONS OR THOUGHTS THAT ARE AGAINST GOD’S NATURE
That is why Paul reminds the Corinthians of what to do when evil comes into your mind, and it’s true for us today!
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Cor. 10:5).
You are to hold every thought captive, casting it down and grasping it. I imagine myself tearing wallpaper down and throwing it out the door!
Now pay attention because here is where many of the spiritual warfare teachings stop short. They teach you how to do warfare, but they do not teach you how to be obedient to God.
Verse six says: And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled (2 Cor 10:6).
You cannot have power over the Devil in spiritual warfare if you first have not fulfilled obedience to God’s Word. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am NOT talking about legalism here. It’s impossible to keep the law perfectly, but God cannot change nor lie either.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (Eph. 2:8)
The Father will not heal you and let you keep the fear that’s causing your problems (Romans 12:2). If God did this, it would make Him unholy. It’s impossible to defeat the Devil if you will not fully submit yourself to the Father.
THREE: SUBMIT YOURSELF TO GOD
James says, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
Praise the Lord the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will walk with you and teach you how to do this way better than any human could!
Let me ask you, Where do you need to submit to the Father when you are in conflict with your spouse, sibling, friend, or whomever? Where could reminding yourself you are a disciple of Christ help you reflect God’s light in moments of conflict?
Much of what the Father asks us to do requires stepping out in faith and trusting Him that His ways will be best, which is why we are to be obedient to Him!
FOUR: SLOW TO SPEAK
… Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (James 1:19)
As a mental health practitioner, I can confidently say that most of the disputes/conflicts people have in ALL their relationships result from miscommunication! Isn’t the devil the author of confusion and perversion?
When you are slow to speak, a few neat things naturally happen! First, you will naturally think about what you are about to say. Second, you will have more control in confirming that your words are edifying to that individual (Eph. 4:29). Third, you can respond with compassion, grace, and mercy, just as the Father does with you! Four, you can think about ways to listen to what the individual is saying and work to find an agreement!
Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? (Amos 3:3)
To walk together, you MUST lay your pride down (Proverbs 13:10) and listen to find understanding (James 1:8). When you find understanding, you can walk with that person in agreement (Amos 3:3). When you walk in agreement, you can begin to communicate accurately. It becomes easier to listen to one another open-mindedly and compassionately because you know you are for one another instead of against! When you know someone is for you – well, that creates a lot less stress!
If you want to remain in a healthy, loving, and passionate relationship, you will need to learn how to do this. It’s a skill. It takes work. It takes conscious practice. Slow down. Ask questions that help you both better understand where the miscommunication has occurred.
📖👉 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm (Psalm 37:8). 👈 📖
FIVE: HAVE AN UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD FOR OTHERS
Stop thinking worst-case scenario. Love is a choice, just like thinking the worst-case scenario is one too!
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Cor. 13:7).
It can be challenging to remember the one you are in conflict with is someone who wants the best for you. Do your best to remind yourself that your spouse also chose to be with you too! Assume best-case scenario. Take a second, breath, count down from 31 (as an emotion can only last 30 seconds before it does become your choice to carry it out).
SIX: COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (Matt. 5:37)
Say what you mean and nothing more!
It’s important to remember communication can be hard to understand because we think in images, not words! Some words create concrete pictures in our minds, and others are more abstract.
For instance, the word “chair” is clearly depicted in your mind within nanoseconds. Yet, words like “justice” or “hope” take longer to form in the mind. It can also be the same with words like that draw a picture in our mind, but maybe not the specific image you meant. Maybe when you said “dog,” your spouse went to Shih-Tzu, where you meant Lab!
One of the best things you can say to your spouse in a spat saturated in miscommunication is: What did you hear, What do you see in your mind, or Can you paint the picture you see from what I have said?
Additionally, abstract words will be influenced by the individual’s beliefs. Therefore, when you say abstract words, make sure you communicate precisely what that word means in your mind. Don’t assume your spouse gets it.
SEVEN: FIGHT HEALTHY & WANT THE OTHER TO WIN!
Remind each other you for them. One of the best ways you can learn to fight with your spouse is by having this attitude: You have to want them to win, and they have to want you to succeed. When that occurs, you both are winning, practicing sacrifice, and showing self-less love. The Father sacrificed His Son for you, don’t be surprised that He asks us to sacrifice things in relationships too!
The goal in romantic relationships is to always help the one you love to win! Love sacrifices, now that does not mean you are not to have boundaries. However, we will talk about limits another time. And if you both are willing to do what’s best for the other, you both will win. Have each other’s back and help each other become better, not bitter!
Relationships can be challenging at times, especially if you struggle with self-righteousness. However, if you can focus on all the good things your partner does for you, instead of all the things he/she does to annoy you, you might naturally strengthen your relationship!
📖👉 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11). 👈 📖
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