Have you ever found yourself in a heated discussion with someone where you were determined to prove a point? Maybe you didn’t want to stop talking until they submitted and agreed that you were right? Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in many relationships when two people have different opinions about an issue. It can be as simple as deciding where to eat for dinner or as complex as what investment to make together. A married couple often disagree about discipline for their children or financial issues and the discussion can easily lead to arguments and strong tension. God didn’t design husbands and wives to be resentful of each other or to have conflict. Rather, he designed Eve for Adam to have support. He didn’t want man to be alone and he knew Adam would face trials and tribulations and he would need a support system to help him through those times. From the beginning, God had a plan for man and woman to be a team and nurture and support each other (Genesis 2:24). How do we stay on the same team when we have different opinions, desire for control, cultural distractions in our lives, and an enemy who wants us to fail?
Power struggles can be destructive to relationships. Instantly, people become adversaries and take up opposing positions with a struggle for power or having the right answer. In this battle for dominance, the enemy is winning every time. Satan is pleased to see friends argue and husbands and wives squabble. Satan has victory because he knows when there are opposing sides then there is destruction of the relationship.
We have to always be on guard in our relationships and wearing Armor of God. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that it is not the battle between flesh and blood that we face but against the devil’s schemes. We naturally tend to be defensive when our spouse confronts us, argues with us, or has an opinion different from ours. Why do we tend to attack them when we feel they are wrong and we are right? It is all rooted in fear!
It’s human nature to put up a fight to prove our point and convince someone to see our side. We may even pursue the fight further and make them submit and admit they are wrong. When we face our partner to defeat them acknowledge they are wrong, WE are LOSING the battle because we are no longer on the same team and it becomes a win-lose illusion. Why do we create a situation where we want to defeat our children or our spouse and make them feel defeated and wrong? Do we enjoy it when people do it to us?
We have to realize we are on the same team with our spouse! Oneness occurs when two intimate people can share a common purpose, like being committed to serving God and being conformed to the image of Christ. I have seen couples who fell in love and on down the road discover they have completely different values. The wife was a Christian and the husband was an Atheist. Having this conflict from the beginning can be tragic. This makes it difficult to have a relationship that glorifies God. The image that Paul creates in Ephesians 5 for marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church and will not work when only one spouse has faith in Jesus. Often times, a spouse decides they are not happy with their partner’s values, beliefs, or behavior and they work to mold them into a different person. Women, for example, may tend to want to train their husbands from the beginning. They want to mold him into the image as the perfect husband and change the things they don’t like. This creates conflict and stress in the marriage and is not how God intended marriage or any relationship to be like. He didn’t give you a spouse to mold them into someone else.
God made us each different for a reason. He combines each husband and wife to compliment each other and be a support team in the family unit. In Romans 12:6 Paul says we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, the prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, the give encouragement; if it giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it to show mercy, do it cheerfully. If we were all meant to be the same in character and agree on every matter, the world would be a pretty boring place and nothing would get done. We are meant to have different opinions and views and as a married couple we are put together to compliment each other with our strengths and weaknesses. Every member of a team has a strength and a weakness. Think of football for example. Do you have a team made of all linemen? A team full of quarterbacks? No. The game would be boring and unorganized if we had a bunch of quarterbacks running around throwing the ball at each other or a bunch of linemen blocking each other. Just as in a marriage, we compliment each other in our roles and opinions. Our family team is all on the same side and should adopt a no-losers policy.
Once you adopt a no-losers policy in your family, life gets easier. It takes some work, together, to figure out the cycle – like in figuring out the right plays in a football game – but once you know the process it all becomes natural. In any kind of significant relationship, you can’t win unless the other person also wins. “So, in your own best interest, you have to make sure that he or she wins. For exactly the same reason, the other person has to make sure that you win. The only alternative is that you both lose.” DNA of Relationships, by Dr. Gary Smalley