Conflict Management

Freedom from Extortion in Your Marriage

Rule #1: I love you. I will always love you. You are my husband/wife. I have pledged myself to help you, support you, and care for you. I’m not going to stop taking care of you.

A Good Fight is more than just screaming

Most arguments begin when someone really wants something that they are not getting!  The Bible explains it this way:

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
You want something, but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives.”
(James 4:1-2)

Most normal people read those words and are shocked to think that the writer would think they would kill someone over blocked desires!  And they would never think that simply wanting something would be sin like “coveting”.  Besides, what does “asking God for what I want” have to do with my marriage relationship?  Just being married means I should be getting what is coming to me as a marriage partner.  Right?  It is only right for me to expect to be getting what I want out of the relationship!
And thus it starts.

Killing may be sin but a little Extortion wouldn’t hurt!

Our human nature kicks in as we find ourselves not getting what we want and need most out of our relationship.  We say to ourselves, “Well, if I’m not getting what I want out of this marriage, I’m certainly not giving YOU what YOU want, either!”  Maybe, we think if that other person finds that they are not having their wants or desires met, maybe they will straighten up and give ME what I want and need most!

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Blocked desires simply add more intensity to the “explosive mixture” as one partner adds yet another layer of frustration upon the layer laid down by the other partner.  Often people have come into my office with long lists of “hurts and offenses” that they have endured by their marriage partners.  And they expect me to agree that these long lists should justify some hurtful action they feel ready to unleash on the marriage in retaliation!

Go back and remember what you PROMISED.

Nothing justifies attacks upon your partner!  Go back in your mind.  Remember what you said on that day when everyone believed you were headed for a life of love and joy….when everything was new and filled with hope.  Did someone force you to say, “For better or worse”?  Did someone make you promise to “Love and protect” that other person “In sickness or and in health”?  Can you tell me that you were pressured into making the covenant to “Love as long as we both shall live”?  What “hidden trapdoor” was concealed in your marriage vows that allow you to escape your promise?  The words you spoke may have been slightly different but the intention of every marriage service is to witness the vow of two people to LOVE for a lifetime.

Is it asking too much to say out loud at the very beginning of each argument, “I will always love you and nothing is going to change that.”  Making that statement at the beginning, during the most intense of the discussion and at the end of the settlement and resolution, is the truest way of taking away the “threat of retaliation” (which is better known as “Marital Extortion”).  Saying it out loud takes away the Power of Threat…the Pressure of Emotion…the Volume of Anger…and the Uncertainty of Retribution.  Saying it out loud (when our human nature would love to say the exact opposite) changes everything we do and say from that point onward.
Try it, you’ll like it!  I promise.

1-I Will Alway Love You from PastorBobDouglas on Vimeo.

Next: Rule #2: I love you just the way you are.

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