…making Mutual Decisions and Fighting Fair
1) Working Together For Good
How you view one another, how you treat each other, your career, success at what you do at work or in the Lords work, your financial abilities, your position in the community, what you do in your home, how you look after your home, all help in promoting a happy marriage. It is important for both of you to understand that you are in process of building a relationship that last all your lives. How much you put into it will produce how much you get out of it. Aim to please each other and enjoy each other for the rest of your lives together.
If you are too involved in or give more time to anything more than building and maintaining your marriage you are heading for difficulties. Career, friendships, ministries, etc must come down the list and your marriage and relationship must be the major priority. If not your marriage will suffer.
Put your relationship with your spouse first. If you don’t do this, through time and neglect, your marriage will weaken and eventually fall apart.
Please one another. Don’t take your marriage for granted. “But he who is married cares about the things of the world–how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world–how she may please her husband. (1 Cor. 7:33-34).
Comfort one another. “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:18). “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thess. 5:11). “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” (1 Thess. 5:14). “comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” (2 Thess. 2:17).
Support one another. Your spouse needs to know they can lean on you and depend on you, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and practically this includes listening to work concerns.
2) Making Mutual Decisions
Pray together about your relationship. Pray together for guidance as you make your decisions
Gather facts and information. Write down the data on a list so that you can see all the pros and cons. Take time to talk about it. You can do this both individually and as a couple. Share what you find with each other.
What ever you do, do it for God’s glory. “ And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, (Col. 3:23).
Ask for advice. If necessary from relatives, mature sensible believers, friends and experts.
There may be more than one option. Consider other options or ways of coming to a conclusion. It is not wrong to change your decision before it is final.
Talk with one another. Talk about the positives and the negatives of the decision you are about to make.
Live with your final decision. Make sure the decision is a decision that you can both live with.
The final decision. If in the final analysis you have left it to your partner to decide abide by that decision and don’t fight with them if it did not turn out the way you wanted it to. Both of you should take responsibility for the decision. Don’t play the blame game later if the consequences of the decision are negative. Don’t say “I told you so.” It is OK if a mistake is made so long as both agreed originally.
If it is a big decision take your time and come back to it later and have another look at it. Set a time or date to put the decision into action.
Make a commitment to each other that you will go on loving and forgiving one another whatever the outcome.
3) Fight Fair – Negative Things to Watch Out For
Don’t let little things that bother you,build up until one of you explodes the issue into a large fight. That’s not fighting fair in your marriage. Ask yourself how important is it to me. You may win an argument but cause ill feelings.
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger (wrath). Make things right before you go to bed “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath” nor give place to the devil. (Eph.4:26 – 27), “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (Eph. 4:30).
Deal with anger swiftly. If you are angry about something and don’t put the fire out it may rage again. Try and talk about it before the day is over. Otherwise, you are not fighting fair.
Choose your time to share your concerns. If your spouse doesn’t want to discuss the matter, set an appointment within the next 24 hours to have your fair fight.
Be clear and specific. Make sure your spouse knows what you are talking about or thinking about. If they are unaware then you are not fighting fair. Deal with the issue and sort it out don’t move on to other issues.
Don’t bring others into it. Don’t include your relatives or friends. This puts them in a situation where they may have to take sides. Keep your fight between the two of you. This does not mean you cannot ask others their advice so long as yu are not trying to get them on your side.
Be kind to one another. Don’t be unkind in your words or treatment. Fighting fair is being so with a tender heart. means you don’t hit below the belt. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32).
Fight Fair. Fighting fair means you don’t bring up past history. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; (1 Cor. 13:4).
Don’t be hurtful. Be considerate, thoughtful and understanding. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, (Heb. 10:24). Love does not “does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;” (1 Cor. 13:5
Choose the right words. Don’t use harsh words, use words with double meanings or call each other bad names, don’t be hurtful or sarcastic Love “does not does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.(1 Cor. 13:6-7).
Put your self in your spouse’s position. What way would you like to be treated? How would you like to be spoken to?
Develop a sense of humour in your marriage. Learn to laugh at yourself or your situation. Take the heat out of it. Give each other a smile. This often takes the tension out of a situation.
Don’t ignore your spouse. Do not do something else while you are dealing with the problem. Give it your full attention. If necessary cancel going out so that you can sort the problem out.
Listen to one another fully while you fight. Don’t interrupt, make sarcastic remarks, make negative facial or body gestures. Show you are interested in what being said. Don’t make chuckle, make bad sounds or smile in the wrong way, or frown distastefully. Don’t interrupt during your fight.
It takes two to argue or disagree. Take part of the blame and responsibility of you need to. Be honest and share the blame. Don’t angrily accuse one anther.
When you speak try and use “I” instead of “You”. Don’t use the word “never” or “always” when you are fighting. Use “sometimes” or “occasionally.” Don’t yell or shout at one another.
A cooling off period. If you are both angry go for a walk, give yourselves a little time to cool off. Try to do something together like listening to your favourite music or reading this print out.
Forgiveness is all important. Ask for forgiveness and be willing to forgive. “that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. (2 Cor. 2:7).” “ bearing with one another, and forgiving another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Col. 3:13, c.f. Eph. 4:32).
Forgiving can be difficult because of ones pride or bitterness or unwillingness to forgive and forget this can cause harm both emotionally and physically to yourself and to your marriage. The power to release a person from the bad decision or the guilt lies in the hands of the one who forgives. Do not keep your spouse in the prison of unforgivness. It will also mean what and where they have failed in now controls your life and attitudes. And for as long as you stay that way it means you lost the fruit of the Spirit of self control. Don’t go on holding a grudge. Don’t let the situation control you.
19. Your relationship with your spouse is the most important thing after your relationship with God. Fight for your relationship. Fight to keep it on track.
20. Remember every one has conflict. That is not wrong. What is wrong is not looking for the solutions. Conflict is not the problem. Keep it in context, it is not the end of the world to have a disagreement. All married couples have disagreements. Learn how to fight fair.
21. Choose the right place and time. Don’t fight in public