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Summary: Using Paul's words in a different way... to talk about fighting a good fight (argument) with family and how you can preserve the family.. because we do have fights!!

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Fighting the Good Fight

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me— And the prize is not just for me... (but for my whole family)

I want to start with a disclaimer today... This may not be the most biblically sound sermon I ever preached, it may not be centered on the cross or lead to a camp meeting type altar call...

But I will promise you this... this sermon will hit every one of you right where you live and cause each of you to think of things that you need to confess.

Today I want to talk about FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT.

I don’t mean the way Paul did. He was talking about how he had lived his life.

I am referring to a good fight/argument with your spouse.

I have fought the good fight... I have stayed on the subject at hand and remained faithful to my vows.

Let me promise you that most of us will have a harder time saying that at the end of a week than saying what Paul did.

There is an old saying... “All is not fair in love and war.”

Today I want to talk to you about how to have a fair fight.

Dr. John Gotman has been doing marriage research for decades and can predict with 90% accuracy whether a marriage will last based solely on how they fight.

First realize this It is not whether you fight or about what BUT HOW YOU FIGHT that is the make or break issue.

How can we fight the good fight in marriage?

Watch out for Four Red Flags

1. CRITICISM

Every fight begins with a critical word...

You NEVER do anything I want you to do

You ALWAYS watch sports

The first secret to fighting a fair/good fight is DON’T USE ALWAYS AND NEVER.

THEY ARE NEVER TRUE.... OPPS!!!!!!! They are hardly ever true.

And they almost always start with YOU.... and are almost always negative.

It is not true that he only watches sports.... sometimes he watches commercials.

It is not true that he never does anything you want him to do... sometimes he stops scratching.

Criticism is a sure-fire way to start an argument. It is the first blow, the first strike. And naturally, the other person will shoot back.

How do you avoid this pit-fall?

USE AN I STATEMENT.

I know you like this show but I would like to watch wheel of fortune.

I would really like it if you would do so and so.

You can even complain and it is alright as long as it is not criticism

I know you worked hard on this casserole but I really don’t like Tuna Helper.

Criticism is ... you always try the stupidest new things.

Which do you think would work better

2. DEFENSIVENESS.

Defensiveness is a natural reaction if we think we are under fire.

The best way to avoid criticism

By the partner.... DON’T MAKE THEM THINK THEY ARE

Don’t use criticism.

For yourself.... MAKE SURE YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK.

Try to find out if it is you or some other thing that is under attack.

Sometimes it is neither.

Sometimes it is just complaining and they just did not word it well.

Sometimes they may be firing back at something they think you did.

CLARIFY THE CONTENT... make sure what they are really mad about.

3. CONTEMPT.

Contempt is anything that is designed to make the other person feel about one inch tall.

Words - “Way to go genius.”

Body language rolling your eyes.... shaking your head

Criticism is stupid

Defensiveness is human

BUT CONTEMPT IS MEAN and DEMEANING

It is absolute poison in a relationship and leaves terrible scars on the relationship.

It tells the other person that you do not value them at all.

4. STONEWALLING.

Stonewalling is “the silent treatment.”

It is when you withdraw physically or emotionally from the argument.

It short-circuits conversation and communication

It is a deathblow to the conversation.

What should you do.... stay in the argument and make sure it deals with the issues.

I want to read you three vital verses that relate directly to anger in marriage.

Eph 4:27 And “be angry but don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.”

Romans 12:17-18 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.

James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

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