Scour the internet and you’ll find all sorts of relationship advice on how to resolve relationship conflict, but who’s the source of this advice? I often find some of the most vocal presenters of relationship advice don’t have the street cred within their own relationships. When you receive relationship advice, make sure it’s from someone who’s done the work to get a certification or degree. Better yet, find someone in a healthy and long-term relationship.
What if the keys to resolve relationship conflict are actually elementary, just underutilized? Gordon Dalbey is known for writing books like Healing the Masculine Soul that are geared toward men, but after decades of marriage, his latest books co-written with his wife, Mary, concern relationship conflict and sex.
In their first year of marriage, Gordon and Mary got into a conflict.
“Honey,” Gordon said. “This fight is over.”
But instead of disappearing into the bathroom or becoming enveloped in TV, he told her they were going to pray. They knelt in front of the bed together.
“…you bend you get smaller,” Gordon said, “And that’s the idea.” In order to resolve relationship conflict, humility is required.
In his prayer, he got the words, “Listen to her.” Before long, they were in each other’s arms again. In Loving to Fight or Fighting to Love?, Gordon says if you want to resolve relationship conflict, “The question is not who’s right, but what’s God trying to teach us?”
One of the most powerful chapters in Loving to Fight or Fighting to Love? is Chapter 7: Leaving Father and Mother. As children, we look up to our parents, and can believe they are perfect. This belief can cause issues in future relationships and marriage. It’s important that a man and woman leave the spiritual bond with mom and dad to find purpose through God in a marriage.
On the flip side, we also have to acknowledge and forgive the faults in our parents as well. Gordon writes, “a man must face and resolve any negative feelings toward his mother so he doesn’t project those feelings onto his wife.” The hurts and emotional damage that happen in childhood can follow us throughout life. Unchecked, as Gordon points out, hurt can invade marriage.
At the end of the day, as Gordon states, ” a love which unites two unique human beings of different family backgrounds and emotional languages…can only be supernatural.” The more surrendered we are to God’s purposes, the more equipped we will be to build a fulfilling marriage.