Illustration results for conflict marriage
A mature-looking lady had an appointment with a marriage counsellor, and told him flat out: "I would like to divorce my husband." To this, the counselor replied, "Well, do you have any grounds?" She answered, "Why yes. We have almost an acre." The puzzled counselor asked her, "You don’t understand. What I want to know is do you and your husband have a grudge?" The lady answered, "Actually, we don’t, but we do have a nice carport." At this, the counselor shook his head and said, "Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I just don’t see any reason why you should divorce your husband." The lady looked at the counselor and said to him, "It’s just that the man can’t carry on an intelligent conversation."
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 109.
Even mature, talented, Christian couples can find themselves dealing with conflicts of varying degrees. We know that the great British preacher John Wesley and his wife Mary did not get along. Wesley and Mary Vazeille, a well-to-do widow and mother of four children, were married in 1751. By 1758 she had left him -- unable to cope, it is said, with the competition for his time and devotion presented by the ever-burgeoning Methodist movement. Toward the end of their relationship, Molly, as she was known, would make faces at John while he preached! She was to return and leave him again on several occasions before their final separation.
So, how do we confront the differences that surface in marriage? Do we careen; do we cheat; do we complain; or do we care enough to work things out?
Jim Dobson tells the story about a couple whose husband placed an ad in the Rocky Mountain News just prior to a Super Bowl a few years ago.
Will trade my noncooking and Nonshopping wife with attitude problem
For one Super Bowl ticket No Indiangivers Call so-and-so at xxx-xxxx
Dobson goes onto say, that the husband claimed he was not kidding, although he was known to play practical jokes. He said the idea came to occurred to him the day after the AFC championship game, when it snowed heavily in Denver.
"She refused to go shopping," [the husband] said. "She said the roads were too slick, so she made me do it. I get tired of that stuff after a while. If I could a Super Bowl ticket, it would be a one-way trip."
Dobson goes onto share "that the last time we checked, the couple had resolved their little misunderstanding and were still happily married. But this little anecdote contains a message for newly married couples: Don't count on having a placid relationship. There will be times of emotional conflict and disagreement. There will be periods of emotional blandness when you can generate nothing but a yawn for one another. Thats life, as they say."
De-evangelizing the neighbourhood
I was at a conference a few years ago where they told the story of a church that looked as though they were really thriving: they had about 500 people attending, and had many outreach ministries reaching their community, and many people were coming to Christ and to church through their ministry.
The problem was that the church was not growing in numbers – people were leaving as quickly as they were coming in. They began to do some research on the people who were leaving and they found that the majority who left were not attending another church, they just stopped going to church all together. They realized that although the church was great at evangelism, because of their inability to hold people, they were actually de-evangelizing their neighbourhood. Those who were leaving were almost impossible to bring back into any community of faith.
The senior pastor realized that something had to be done, so he called up that last 12 people to be baptized and invited them to supper at his house. These were all new Christians and very excited to be invited to the Pastor’s house. After supper he sat them down and asked if they wanted to know the future. They all said “yes!” So he said, statistically speaking in the next 2-3 years… two of your marriages will have broken up and the shame will cause you to leave the church, three of you will have a conflict with someone in the church and you will leave the church, one will have a tragedy and lose faith and leave, two will have a moral failing and leave, and two will lose interest and drift away. In two to three years, out of this group only two of you will be attending church, and only one of you at this church. There was dead silence in the room. All these wide eyed Christians were about to say “surely not I, Lord.” When one of them spoke up a...
Perhaps some of you know the story of Isobel Kuhn. She was a popular author and missionary to China, was married to John, a man just as strong willed and stubborn as she was. The two had many conflicts. John, for example, had a cook in China to whom he was devoted but whom Isobel couldn’t stand. Tensions grew, and Isobel sulked and stewed and finally exploded. She and John had a blazing argument.
Stuffing her hat on her head, Isobel stalked from the house, through town, and onto the plain boiling with rage. She said to herself, “I am not going to live with a man who gives a lazy servant preference over his wife.” She walked for hours, enraged, not caring where she went. She finally returned home, but the situation remained tense although John told Isobel she could dismiss the servant. When the local church leaders visiting wanting to know why the cook had been fired, John wouldn’t back Isobel. And he didn’t hire anyone else, sending all the domestic duties on her.
Other issues soon arose. For a long time the marriage was painful and stressed. But John and Isobel were committed to the Master. They were committed to personal spiritual maturity and to working and maintaining the relationship, however difficult it seemed. Furthermore, Isobel admitted that she had nowhere to go. She often walked out on John, but in that remote region on the Chinese-Thai border, there was nowhere for her to go. The two finally built a satisfying, fulfilling marriage.
Near the end of her life, Isobel wrote these words: I feel many modern marriages are wrecked on just sharp shoals as this. A human weakness is pointed out. The correction is resented. Argument grows bitter. Young people are not ready to forgive, not willing to endure. Divorce is too quickly seized upon as the way out. [But] to pray God to awaken the other person, to be patient until he does so—this is God’s way out. And it molds the two opposite natures into one invincible whole.
Ricki Lee Brooks
Together communication and attitude have potential... either for good or for evil. Here’s what we mean…
It was attitude that took out yet another marriage. They were in their twenties. They were the parents of two beautiful children. He, however, had a miserable problem. She endured it. The problem was alcoholism. It left it’s smell on every facet of their young lives and in every corner of their family.
Their time together became a proving ground for her coping skills. He could not or would not share the load of raising the children or caring for the home. Extended family relationships — what there was left of them — strained under her lonely efforts. Bills mounted. Floor space deteriorated. Access to God through prayer alone stood between her and a breakdown.
Then the impossible happened. Late one night, while watching a television evangelist, he gave his heart to Christ. The old man dropped dead. The new man came alive. His life changed that night.
Within a few days the fog lifted. Once again, he could see clearly. Every new morning erased more of his fuzzy thinking. Each new night he went to bed with vivid memories.
Soon he began to assume responsibility. She was elated. The first six months rushed by like a wind of bliss. It was a second honeymoon.
However, for every inch of responsibility he reassumed, she lost an inch of control. Now that he could think again, he began to inquire about debt. He eagerly paid attention to the children’s school work. He even attended parent-teacher meetings. Making up for lost time, he called the doctor to schedule appointments. He invited in-laws over for weekend cook-outs. He planned their first vacation. He began to manage the checking account.
At first she was delighted. Later she discovered a new problem. While he lived in a state of alcoholic stupor, she lit the fires. She made everything go round. Now she was a partner. Now she needed negotiation skills. This new stage of life pulled her between ecstasy and exasperation. Soon the exasperation dominated the tug-of-war.
She found herself quarreling over issues she once longed to have lifted from her shoulders. He was surprised. She was frustrated. Their honeymoon joy lost ground to interpersonal conflict.
She once thought the removal of alcohol would end their nightmares. He once thought the same thing. She once thought his willingness to help out would create the perfect marriage. He once thought his new found willingness to lead would set his wife upon a pedestal. They were wrong. The removal of alcohol, while a true blessing, paved the way for a new round of learning. All the old skills — her in charge, him in a stupor — were overturned. Their marriage needed serious renegotiation.
With the tables now turned, he sought counsel (like she used to do) and she withdrew into a shell (like he used to do). He began to grow. She began to shrink. Friends, family and their pastor tried to help, but the years had taken their toll. She felt broken. He was dismayed. From her brokenness grew an attitude of defeat. From his dismay grew an attitude of indifference. And from messed up attitudes there grew significant communication breakdowns. Soon they just quit talking to one another. They drifted apart. It was not explosive. Just sad. Sad and needless and wrong.
You see, the relationship between communication and attitude is too close to dissect. Our Lord Jesus once said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:18,19). No wonder so many books, seminars, classes and college courses designed to increase communication fail to produce. When we fail to address the core issue of poor communication — attitude — no amount of technique will overcome the problem.
Ricki Lee Brooks
Sermon Central Staff
THE IMPACT OF DIVORCE
Today, there is a generation of children of divorce that has grown up. Elizabeth Marquardt is author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. This scholar, a child of divorce herself, drew from her own experiences and also surveyed 1500 adult children from divorced and intact families. Then she interviewed 70 of them at length. Her book focuses on college graduates because they could be said to be reasonably successful, and they wanted to know how divorce had affected them.
One of the insights of the book was on marriage. The essential task of marriage is to make one home from two conflicting selves and this struggle is the ideal context for a child to grow spiritually and emotionally. When the family stays together, this struggle goes largely unnoticed by the children. After divorce, the conflict no longer rests on the parents shoulders but takes root in the heart of the child.
Now it makes sense. Every negative factor: alcohol and drug abuse, poor grades, promiscuity and other sexual deviances, suicide, and criminal behavior are two to three times higher in children from broken homes than intact homes. Those kids are acting out their hurt.
In times past, people use to advise a couple, "Stay together for the children’s sake." My generation believed it was better for them to not be raised in a home filled with conflict, and besides life’s most important goal was for us to be happy. Now a generation of adults who were children of divorce is saying grandpa and grandma were right.
She discovered another interesting insight for the church. The church by and large focused on helping the parents but ignored the children. The religious leaders did not reach out to them. The adults that were interviewed said they needed a stable society that faced reality and refused to deal in happy talk--saying things like, "Children are resilient." The church needs to find a way to defend the most vulnerable in our membership. God help us.
Jim and I went to Home Depot in Logan, Utah to get some supplies for the building project on the campgrounds where our mission team was staying. We’d found most everything but one particular size of lumber. A young man, an employee, 21 years old, offered to help. We discovered he was from Alabama. How did he get from Alabama to Utah, we asked. He came by way of a baseball scholarship. That resulted in a great baseball discussion.
I’m assuming a young man from Alabama must be a Baptist or Charismatic. I asked what church he attended. He told us he attended an LDS ward. In his home his father was a Southern Baptist but his mother was a Mormon. The parents decided to not impose one faith or the other on their children. They would let them decide. On Sunday morning, Chris would go to the LDS service. He implied that on Sunday evening and Wednesday he went to his father’s Baptist church.
He began to explain that both faiths were similar and taught good character. I interrupted and said they may appear to be similar but fundamentally they were diametrically opposed to one another. One taught the only way to salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. You cannot earn salvation. The other said you had to be good to earn salvation. They are as different as black and white, night and day, oil and water.
I told him either his Baptist daddy is right and his mother is wrong, or his mother is right and his daddy is wrong. The two could not both be right. Which meant if his daddy is right, his mother is going to go to hell. If his mother is right, she would go to a greater heaven and his dad would be in a lesser heaven. We never got contentious. We maintained a friendly spirit, and he agreed with what I said.
Afterwards, Jim and I were jazzed over that conversation. How was it possible for that Baptist daddy to allow that to happen to his son! How could he be content with his son going to hell, and his wife? Obviously, we don’t know the whole story, but it appears that the one that lived their faith was the mother. The Christian father was to bless his son and persuade him to choose Christ. Instead, he allowed the boy to be damned.
Another point. If we understood his story correctly, the Baptist church had two opportunities to the Mormons one.
I know you love your children. Love them enough to stay put in marriage. Love them enough to live your faith. It powerfully shapes them for God.
A final reason to stay put in marriage is your partner may be saved.
(From a sermon by Ed Sasnett, Reasons to Stay, 6/23/2010)
On July 29, 1981, one of the most highly publicized and glamorous weddings in history took place.
• Britain’s Prince Charles married Lady Diana
• An estimated audience of 750 million people worldwide.
• 4500 pots of fresh flowers lined the route to St. Paul’s cathedral.
• 2500 people crowded that grand church where more than 75 technicians with 21 cameras worked to enable the world to watch this wedding.
• For many people, this was a modern fairy tale. A royal prince weds a lovely lady in a grand cathedral surrounded by adoring subjects.
• They were the envy of millions. They were rich, young, handsome. It was a "marriage made in heaven."
• Sadly, we know that the fairy tale became a nightmare. The couple grew more and more distant.
• Affairs ensued. The storybook marriage made in heaven eventually collapsed into adultery ...
Pastor E. V. Hill was talking about the racial violence in downtown Watts, in the Los Angeles area. He is as a Baptist Preacher and was caught up in that kind of tension. There was another of the black pastors who had already been killed because of their involvement in this racial tension. E V Hill got a threatening phone call and he was told that if he did not cease his involvement in the racial conflict that he would be killed.
They told him that they would put a bomb in his car. The next day when he woke up he noticed his wife was not there. When he looked out into the garage the car was gone. He looked out the window and saw his wife was driving up in the car. When he asked her what she was doing she said, I just wanted to be sur...