Marital separation - How do I reconcile with my spouse?
The Bible provides us with a simple and powerful system for resolving conflict with almost anyone including marital separation. I am going to list them here along with a brief description.
See Conflict as an Opportunity. Conflict is not bad nor destructive. God can always use it for good. Conflict actually provides three significant opportunities: Glorify God (trusting, obeying and imitating Him); Serving Other People (bearing their burdens or confronting them in love); Growing to be like Christ (confessing sin and turning from attitudes that promote conflict). These are overlooked in most marital seperations because people naturally focus on escape from the situation or overcoming their opponent. It is important to ask yourself whether you are doing all that you can to take advantage of these opportunities.
Glorify God. Glorify Him in the midst of conflict by trusting Him, obeying Him, and imitating Him. The best question you can ask yourself is "How can I please and honor the Lord in this situation?"
Get the Log out of your Own Eye. As Matthew 7:5 says, "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." There are two kinds of logs you need to look for when dealing with conflict. First, you need to ask yourself whether you have had a critical, negative, or overly sensitive attitude that has led to unnecessary conflict. Meditate on Philippians 4:2-9 which describes the kind of attitude you should have even when they are involved in a conflict. The second kind of log is actual sinful words and actions. Sometimes we need someone outside of ourselves to contact who will help us take an objective look at ourselves. Then, go beyond the confession of wrong behavior and face up to the root cause of that behavior. The Bible teaches that conflict comes from the desires of our heart, so some of those are sinful.
Now Gently Restore. As Christians, we are told to confront gently in Matthew 18:15: "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." However, this verse must be taken in context. We do not necessarily use direct confrontation to force others to admit they have sinned. Just before this passage, Jesus is talking about His wandering sheep and then rejoices when it is found. So, the verse is introduced with a theme of restoration, not condemnation. In other words, we restore the person gently, and our attitude should be that rather than anger. If an initial conversation does not resolve a conflict, review what was said and done and look for ways to make a better approach during a follow- up conversation. Always have prayer support, and when needed, consult a spiritual friend regarding the approach.
Go and Be Reconciled. Forgiveness is a spiritual process that you may not be able to accomplish on your own. Seek and pray for grace from God.
Negotiate in a Biblical Manner and remember to look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of the other person, especially in a marital separation. First and foremost, pray in all circumstances, and listen to what God has to say.
Learn More About Coping With Separation.
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