Conflict in Relationships

This is just a short little entry…

Why do we let conflict ruin our relationships? And where did we ever get the idea that our relationships would be picture-perfect and free of disagreement? It seems that most married couples today see disagreement as a “sign” that their marriage is failing or has failed. Dr. Everett Worthington noticed that couples “feel that any differences are evidence that they are not meant for each other,” (Hope-Focused Marriage Counseling 1999, 173). Where do we get this idea? Where does that come from?

I think it stems from our increasingly popular desire for “happiness.” “All of my relationships, all of my circumstances, all of my experiences exist to serve my happiness.” This is extremely narcissistic and fatal to all kinds of relationships.

Happiness is a feeling/emotion of the heart; Jeremiah says the heart is deceitful above all else (17:9).

The goal of the Christian life should always be to conform to the image of Christ. Sometimes, feelings of happiness emerge. And sometimes, stress, sadness, and disappointment are inevitable. We can look at the example of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane… weeping, sweating blood, passionately praying that the “cup” pass from Him… nevertheless, God’s will be done. Ask Jesus if he was overwhelmed with happiness at that moment. I think you know the answer.

There is an epidemic emerging. I hear it all around me. I see it in my counseling office. I encounter it in relationships among friends and family. We are infected with the lethal obsession of our own happiness. Even when we give of our possessions and time for a cause, we do it because it “makes us feel good.” This is backward indeed.

Christians are doing things “for God” in expectation of a blessing. Think about that – those things are not done “for God.” They are more appropriately contractual gestures that are done as an investment for us.

Marriage is about self-sacrifice for the benefit of your spouse and the marriage relationship.
Friendships are about empathy and agape love. 
Authority/headship is about servitude. 
Leadership is about sacrifice.

As much as I love you, my desire is not your happiness. It is your holiness.

Grace and Peace,
Tony

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