I have been seeing couples for nearly two decades. And while there are many techniques and skills that are important to help facilitate growth and healing in a marriage, I try to keep it simple.
That is not to say that simple doesn’t run deep. I have found that truth has both the beauty of simplicity and depth. The most profound truth that I believe brings about transformation in marriage is the Gospel. From my experience, here's how to resolve conflict in marriage.
I have a friend of mine who runs a Care Ministry in a local church. We often meet in order to run cases by each other and seek wise counsel. He once posed a question to me that I've kept in mind for years.
Ask the right question.
After discussing a couple’s issues with him he asked me, “Where is the Gospel in light of their circumstance?” At the time, I thought his question was pretty profound. Today, as I've counseled many couples, I have used his question as a directive since that day on countless couples.
Find the rightful owner.
What he was asking meant a lot. First, he was asking who needs to take ownership of their wrongdoings. Typically, one or both parties have done something to hurt the other. While one side may be the biggest at fault. Rarely, if ever, is one side perfect and blameless. Guiding couples into a confession of their sin is a powerful first step in marital transformation.
Apply grace and forgiveness.
Secondly, seeing the Gospel means that we apply grace and forgiveness toward the one who has offended us. I know, this is so difficult. Whatever the situation or season the couple finds themselves in, it's vital to realize that the cross is sufficient for both parties, both the one who has wronged the other and the one who needs to cancel that debt.
Look up early and often.
When it comes to resolving conflict in your marriage, the vertical understanding of God’s grace is crucial. Without that personal recognition of our sinfulness, we lack the power and motivation to do what the grace of Christ calls us to do.
When we rightly line our hearts and minds up with the reality of our spiritual poverty before the Lord, we have the proper sense of both ourselves and our spouse. We are all level at the foot of the cross. We all need the same grace and mercy Christ pours out. In this way, marriages can be restored as the love of Christ covers a multitude of sins.
Grace Marriage Mission
Is there something you need to resolve in your marriage? Perhaps it's time to go through the steps in this post. No matter the issue or situation, lean on 2 Corinthians 12:9: "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me."