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Short Fuse for the Long Haul! - Part A

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The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2023 6:00 am

Short Fuse for the Long Haul! - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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June 7, 2023 6:00 am

Conflict is part of every marriage. And today Pastor Skip shares his message “Short Fuse for the Long Haul” about how you must approach conflict.

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Skip Heitzig

Every marriage relationship has sparks, has fireworks, has friction for two reasons. Number one, we're all human. We're all fallen. We're all sinful. And a marriage is one sinner who marries another sinner. There's a second reason.

Not only are we all human, we're different. Today on Connect with Skip Hytik, Pastor Skip shares his message, short fuse for the long haul, about the inevitability of marital conflict and how you can approach it. But before we get started, here's Skip and Lenya to share some exciting news about a trip to the Holy Land. Well, if you've ever dreamed about visiting Israel, let's make that happen. Lenya and I are leading a tour group to Israel next summer in 2024. We'll start up north visiting Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan River. We'll spend several days in Jerusalem, see the Temple Mount, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Upper Room, and more. Now, visiting the places where the scriptures unfolded, where Jesus lived out his earthly ministry, it never gets old.

That's why I keep going back. Join Skip and I and our friend Jeremy Camp next summer in Israel. See the itinerary and book this Israel tour with Pastor Skip Hytik at slash c-a-b-q. That's slash c-a-b-q.

Now, let's turn to Ephesians 4 as we join Skip today. Many years ago when I was young and single and I lived in San Bernardino, California going to college, I had an apartment. Ninety-nine dollars a month.

It's a long time ago. Furnished. This little apartment was situated in the way so that when my kitchen window was open, my neighbors who were just a few feet away, their kitchen window was also, it was a mirror of my apartment. I was young and single, they were young and married. We could overhear kitchen conversations. There wasn't much going on in my house. But in their house, it was a very active conversation, almost nightly. And it wasn't always pleasant. I heard some arguments and some words that made me want to close my kitchen window. A few years later, I lived in an apartment in Santa Ana, California. It was the bottom apartment of a fourplex. There was a married couple this time right above me.

I heard more foot stomping, not because there was great music and words coming out of the ceiling and it's like the heavens were speaking to me, you know, every night. And the only reprieve for me was the beach. I could take my surfboard and head down to the waves and enjoy the peace and the solace. Or so I thought. You see, one day I was down there, waxing my surfboard, ready to go out for a nice early morning surf. And there was a young married couple having an argument on the beach in each other's face.

I'm thinking, really? And they were both locals. They were both vocal. Their volume both got louder and the insults got more sharp as the repartee went back and forth. Finally, the young husband pulled out what he thought would be the greatest insult to a local California beach wife. He turned to her and said, you're a tourist. Her face flushed with redness. She seized in anger and she stormed off. It was like, that's it.

That's the ultimate thing you could call me. Experiences like that always would give me pause as a young single guy when it came to marriage, because I thought, I don't want to do that. I don't want any of that. And I would even sometimes wonder how many married couples are fighting tonight. As the years went on and I got into the ministry, I made another discovery. Not only do couples fight, Christian couples fight. Good Christian couples fight.

Great stellar Christian couples fight. Many years ago, when the wife of Billy Graham Ruth, she's now in heaven, was interviewed about the ministry and about Billy and about their marriage, interviewers always like to ask these tangential questions. So the interviewer said, have you ever considered divorce? And she smiled and she said, divorce? No. Murder?

Yes. Was a classic moment. Every marriage relationship has sparks, has fireworks, has friction for two reasons. Number one, we're all human. We're all fallen. We're all sinful. And a marriage is one sinner who marries another sinner.

There's a second reason. Not only are we all human, we're different. We did a whole study on the temperament differences between male and female. So just because we're human and because we are different, that is enough fodder to make for an interesting fireworks display in a relationship. William Shakespeare was right when he said, the court of law, the court of law, the court of law, the court of law, the court of law, the force of true love never did run smooth. But it's the unresolved conflict that becomes a problem. Anger and conflict that becomes unresolved will become eventually like a cancer that erodes and undermines the relationship. There will be conflict. There will be conflict in every relationship.

You cannot have two strong-willed individuals flowing together without current. There's going to be some kind of movement. A few weeks ago, my wife and I were able to spend a few days with friends in Hawaii, and we were on the windward side of Oahu, right on Lanakai Beach. Right off the back porch, you could see two islands close by, the Mokoluas. And I would get in the morning and get in a kayak, and I would paddle out to the Mokoluas, the islands out there, and paddle back.

And one day, Elaine said, I'd like to go along. So I put her in the front, and I was in the back, and we started paddling. And I said, now I'm going to warn you, the closer we get to these islands, it's going to get rough because there's two separate currents that flow between these islands. And when they meet, it's volatile. It'll be like Gilligan's Island for several hundred yards. And sure enough, when those currents came together, those two flows came together, got pretty exciting there.

We even tipped the kayak once. So when you have two individuals flowing together that have their own ideas about life, there's going to be current. Of great concern to me is the issue of anger in a relationship, the short fuse over the long haul.

That's unsustainable. So how do you handle anger in a marriage? How do you deal with conflict?

What do you do when somebody has a bad temper? How do you resolve conflict? Maybe a better way to ask it is, how can couples have a good fight? I hope you have a good fight. There are bad fights.

We've seen those, but there are good fights. There are good ways to resolve issues and to resolve conflict. Listen to this, Diane Solly from the Coalition for Marriage and Family, she shared an important truth. She noted that happy couples who stay married have the same number of conflicts as unhappy couples who get a divorce.

She noted that what makes the difference is not the absence of conflict, but the ability or inability to manage the conflict. I've had you turn to Ephesians chapter four. We're going to begin in verse 25 and read down to verse 32, just a few verses. And I am well aware that the general context is about the Christian life, that we are not living the past life that we were redeemed from. We're in a new life and that makes all things new and it's general truths for all believers, but I apply it narrowly to the relationship here between husband and wife.

It fits perfectly. I'm going to ask you to do me a favor. As we read these verses today, and as you listen to the message that I bring from these verses, I'm going to ask you to not listen for anybody else. Boy, I wish she could hear this. I'm going to get this message for him.

They need to hear that. It's always a temptation, is it not? But listen today for just you and see what the Holy Spirit would say to your heart. Verse 25, therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.

For we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath nor give place to the devil.

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor working with his hands what is good that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification that it may impart grace to the hearers and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ forgave you. After reading those verses, let me pull out for you four principles on conflict resolution. These are rules of engagement. When you're going to engage in a conflict with your spouse, there ought to be rules of engagement just like in any battlefield, in any war. Four principles on how to have a good fight, a fair fight. Number one, be honest without lying. That's right out of verse 25, therefore put away lying.

Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor for we are members of one another. Most every marriage counselor will tell you there are typically four, there may be more, but typically it boils down to four hot button issues that cause conflict in relationship. Money, sex, children, communication, those four, those are the hot buttons.

A lot of conflict revolve around those four issues and not necessarily in that order, but it's that last one communication that verse 25 is addressing. Honesty in communication is absolutely fundamental and essential in any relationship that is healthy, most especially in a marriage relationship. But sometimes it's absent in a marriage.

Let me share something that's interesting. Do you realize that most fights happen after marriage, not before? Seldom will you find an engaged couple in a knock out, drag down kind of a fight, unless you're breaking up. Now, why is that? Why do most fights happen after marriage? A couple of reasons. Reason number one is everything before you say I do is voluntary, everything after you say I do is compulsory.

The game has changed, the rules have changed. Just the virtue of the commitment, the covenant, the permanence of it all can sometimes bring up the worst in us. They say marriage brings out the best in a person. Sometimes it brings out the beast in the person. A second reason is that when couples date, they often act. They're not real. It's like campaigning.

It's a good picture, isn't it? You're trying to sell, you're trying to sell, schmooze, spin, put your best foot forward to seal the deal, to get that person to like you. And so couples will often act like they like things that they really don't. And so he loves country music. She can't stand it. He buys tickets to the concert and asks her, and asks her, would you like to go to the concert with me? And she says, love to.

She wouldn't say that after they're married. I hate that stuff. Sorry for calling country music that stuff for some of you.

I know I just crossed the line. When we were first married, I invited Lenya to go camping with me when we first moved here. I love camping.

Notice I used that in the past tense. We camped once. After that, we camped together no more. She just, she wasn't into it.

She did it because she knew I was into it, but it wasn't a pleasant experience for her. So be honest without lying, or as it says here, put away lying. And I think that includes, under the banner of lying, exaggeration. Have you ever noticed that we exaggerate when we argue? There are certain words we use, and I'm just going to recommend you put them away from your fighting vocabulary. Words are always and never.

You know what I'm getting at? We say, we say things like, you never tell me anything. That's an exaggeration. You always say that.

We never go out anywhere. I've told you not to do that a million times. That's exaggeration. It's untrue, and it's unhelpful. Those words are untrue and unhelpful.

There's not someone who always does something, and it's untrue that someone never does something. When you use words like that, you lower your credibility. Because if those are the first words out of your mouth, you never, you always, your mate will tune you out instantly and believe less and less that you have to say.

And they get very defensive, by the way, when that kind of language is used. Notice what it says at the very end of verse 25. It says, for, that's giving you a cause now, for we are members of one another.

Now stop right there. You know what makes a Christian marriage different from all other married couples in the universe? This truth. We are members of the family of God. When a Christian husband takes on a Christian wife, he takes on more than a wife.

He takes on a daughter of God, a member of the spiritual family, which puts a different dimension on the marriage and I would say adds another level of responsibility. Speak the truth with one another. We are members of one another. If that is true generally for all believers, it is most true for a married couple. To look at that husband and say, you are a son of the living God, to look at that wife and say, you are a daughter of the living God adds a whole new texture to the relationship.

So be honest without lying. That's the first rule of engagement. The second principle, be angry without sinning. Verse 26, a very famous verse. Be angry and do not sin. Now I read that as a commandment.

Do you? Be angry and do not sin. There was a lady, she went to a gun dealer and she said, I want to buy a gun for my husband. And the gun dealer said, okay, great. What model of gun would your husband want? And she said, I don't know. He doesn't know I'm going to shoot him. Now the dealer understood what she meant.

I want to buy a gun for my husband. Anger, or should I say unresolved anger is one of the most deadly enemies in a relationship. It irritates and it poisons. Proverbs 29 says, an angry man stirs up dissension.

What a picture. Dissension is there under the surface. This guy stirs it up. And a hot tempered one commits many sins. One author that I read calls anger the noise of the soul.

It's a good description. The noise of the soul. It's that thing that hangs back in your mind that gets louder and louder and louder till pretty soon.

It's the only thing you can hear. Many couples have unresolved anger issues, but they don't want to deal with it or they don't identify it. So they'll come and they'll want to dance around it and they'll talk about this issue and that issue and this problem and that problem and all of those are problems, but they really stem from and feed from the one problem of unresolved anger.

The noise of the soul is just getting louder and louder and pouring out into all of these different issues in their marriage. Back to verse 26. Again, it sounds like a command, an imperative, be angry and do not sin. Scholars will call this a permissive imperative. A permissive imperative. It's not like God is saying, thus saith the Lord, get ticked off.

Blow your stack. Yell at somebody. He's giving permission. He's saying in certain cases anger is permissible, but here's the warning, don't let it lead to sin.

That's the idea. Because sin always leads to what? Anybody?

Anybody? Death. Sin always results in death, the Bible says. The sin of anger always results in the death of something.

Death of joy, death of peace, death of friendship, trust. A lot of things are decimated by the sin of anger. Be angry, but the warning, don't let it lead you into sin. Now, I think all of us know when anger gets to the level of sinful anger, we don't need to spell it out, but I'll offer some suggestions. Bursts of temper are sinful. Anger that leads to out of control rage is sinful.

Anger that aims to hurt the other person or family members is sinful. Listen to Proverbs chapter 18 verse 14. Solomon writes, the spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?

Interesting. Great truth. The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit? When a spouse becomes sick, physically ill, most marriages can sustain that. In fact, I would say they prepare for that, even in the vows that they say. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. But the writer says, but who can bear a broken spirit? When the spirit of a mate, when a spirit of a spouse gets crushed, broken, that's unsustainable.

It's unbearable. I'll be confessional with you for a moment. When we were first married, and we got married pretty quickly. She lived in Hawaii.

I lived on the coast of California. We married and within a week we moved out here. So we were adjusting to a new place, a new state, new friends, new job, new everything with each other at the same time. Quite an adjustment, very stressful. And newlyweds make discoveries about each other.

And sometimes those discoveries can be a pretty interesting and not very easy. I remember on a couple of occasions where we had some stressful words, escalating words, and on one particular occasion, our voices raised, words were very biting and sharp that crushed both of our spirits in that one fight. It left both of us in tears. And when the smoke on that battlefield cleared and we got together again, we made an agreement that we would never, we could never allow an episode like that ever to happen again in our marriage because we saw what it did just that one time. We could never get to that kind of an escalation. And immediately we put two rules of engagement into place. Number one, when we got into a spat like that, there would always be a cool down period.

We wouldn't try to fix it when we're on high stress. We'd let it cool and we'd come back to it. And number two, that we would go to a public place to resolve that in those early days. We would go to a restaurant and here's why. Restaurant protocol is different than living room protocol.

There are certain things in a restaurant you just won't do or say and a tone that you will not employ in a restaurant that you could if you were alone at home in your apartment, unless you're just a maniac and out of control. So those were helpful things to resolve our conflict early on. It prevented outbursts, cool down period, public place until we learn how to deal with our emotions and communicate clearly, openly and honestly.

And I will also say that my wife has shown me over the years, the grace of how to be angry and not sin. That's Skip Hyting with the first part of this message from the series, Keep Calm and Marry On. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and complete teaching series at Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that'll help you understand God's design for fatherhood. Men in America need to step up and take responsibility for raising the children they father. Boys growing up without male influence get involved more easily in drugs, crime, and socially destructive behavior, and they are likely to repeat the same cycle of abandoning their children. That's the title of a critical issues package that is a must for men of any age or stage of life. As a father and a pastor, I'm deeply concerned for the families in our nation. It's clear that so many destructive trends are related to the lack of a dad's influence in the lives of their children. We need to educate men on what biblical manhood truly means. The Dads Make a Difference package includes seven of Skip Hytsig's most important messages to men, along with the full hour video documentary, Where's Dad?

hosted by Skip. I think it's safe to say that the family is under attack today. I know that's a phrase that you have heard me say. In fact, I'll tell you the truth. I've said that sentence for 40 years, and every and every year it's been true. And today it's truer than ever before.

It is worse than ever before. Get this package in either digital download or on CD and DVD when you support Connect with Skip with your gift of $50 or more. You'll be joining us as we take Skip's Bible teaching into more major cities.

Request the Dads Make a Difference package online at or by calling 1-800-922-1888. Join us on Connect with Skip Hytsig tomorrow, as Skip concludes his message, Short Fuse for the Long Haul. If you let it grow unresolved, you are giving Satan an opportunity to alienate you and your spouse. And listen, if you give Satan a foothold, he will make it a stronghold. You give him an inch, he'll take a mile. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection, a connection. Connect with Skip Hytig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-07 05:20:50 / 2023-06-07 05:30:04 / 9

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