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February 18, 2020 5:00 pm
It was a really interesting article in USA Today a while back and here's what it said it said that one out of every five people listen to this. Now who got married in 1946, one out of every 5 to 20% of those people made it to their 50th anniversary. That incredible, and yet today the average marriage lasts only 7.2 years and one out of every two marriages ends in divorce now want a relationship breakup like this. Today, one of marriages break up like this today will obviously there's not one single reason that accounts for all but certainly in a large percentage of relationships both in dating relationships and marriage relationships. It's because the two people involved.
Never figure out how to handle conflict successfully.
Now, folks, we have to be honest and say every couple fights every couple disagrees. I mean every couple has arguments and arguments by themselves will not kill a relationship but unhealthy poor sliding patterns do not run into this all the time as a pastor while I'll see a couple and they really love each other and they really care about each other and the really excited about their relationship in the really optimistic in the really committed and they get married, but because they don't know how to resolve conflict effectively because they don't know why they are.
They end up ripping their relationship apart and many times the relationships fail with them still saying you know I really love that other person I really care about that other person. But our relationship has disintegrated so badly that we can put Humpty Dumpty back together again what I want to talk to you about tonight's principles to fight and have fair to handle conflict and arguments in a way that do not destroy the fabric of your relationship, whether it's a dating relationship. Whether it's a marriage relationship is a lawn where did you learn all of these things, folks, I learned all of these things in the trenches for the last 24 years I have lived in the trenches with the mustard gas and the anthrax and all the other stuff that lives in the trenches of being married and Brenda and I for years didn't know these principles and verbally not physically but verbally we would slug it out.
I mean she'd verbally go when I would go verbally how and we would just slug it out. And finally, we turn around one day and said what are we doing this is crazy. We gotta figure out a way to handle conflict better organ to destroy each other and destroy our families so these do not come out of some course. These don't come out of some seminar. These come out of the trench with the mustard gas and all of the nasty stuff but I'm telling you they were since Brenda and I have agreed to these rules in our relationship and have lived by them. We have seen an enormous health restored to our relationship and that's how we made it 24 years as a married couple. Now when I'm there to share with you is not magic.
There's nothing profound about it, but nonetheless, even though they're simple I'm telling you, these are powerful principles that when we live by them. They will change the way our relationships goes.
I hope you'll take some notes right there ready have got six principles to give you the hope you'll take some notes.
Principle number one and this may be the most important of all principle number one is that there's a big difference between a cease-fire and resolving conflict in a relationship there's a lot of difference between a cease-fire and conflict being resolved now.
Lots of people let conflict stop my friends without ever resolving it. In other words, they just kind of the Clara cease-fire and they decide were what will just go on with each one of those unresolved conflicts is like a snail that people lick you don't put in the same book, and in what happens is the next argument comes up.
People take up the stamp book and it will all stand look at each other and then they lick the new stamps can put in the stamp book and save the book for the next argument. Now that is not the way to survive in a relationship. The way to survive is to resolve conflict visible on what exactly does it mean to resolve conflict will. Here's how many people resolve conflict in a relationship.
One of the two people. Bronson says room was that I was wrong was that said it, that's not resolving conflict when we are people going to be farther and they will go apologize. Okay I apologize does not resolving conflict acts requiring a cease-fire. Is it will. I was the resolving conflict, resolving conflict means three things okay number one somebody if not both. People assume responsibility, personal responsibility for what they did and they're willing to say I did this and I was wrong. You cannot resolve conflict without somebody accepting personal responsibility.
I did this and I was wrong and you gotta say it out loud with your mouth. Gotta say for sure know I was wrong. No no no you say I did this and I was wrong. Number two.
The second thing is you have to request the other person will you forgive me if you go lot that is so cheesy, so humiliating, so hokey, you mean you should actually stand there and say, will you forgive me absolutely, and further, another some couples a go this far, but they lead out the third step in its most important third step is you have to keep on saying will you forgive me until your partner says yes I will forgive you now, then you resolve the conflict. I did this and I was wrong. Will you forgive me and then you demand a response and the only acceptable response. If you're Christian is yes I will forgive you. This is when conflict is resolved.
You say you don't really do this to you absolutely start. Not only do we know what we make our children do it when our children do some wrong. They know what they gotta go through, you know, they know they have to come after say this. What I did they have to say I was wrong.
I have to say, will you forgive me and then we say yes we will forgive you and then we resolve conflict until they've done that. The thing is not over.
It is not settled and we make him go through that and we have for years. That is how you resolve conflict. Now, sometimes both of you have to do sometimes you know both of you are wrong and that's okay but you gotta get to the point where the other person makes a decision and says yes I'll forgive you to understand why that's so important.
A little later. Principle number two Ephesians chapter 4 verse 26 it says, look what it says in your anger. Be careful.
You do not sin see is it wrong to get angry.
Is it sin to get angry. No. Did Jesus get angry. He sure did. Drove moneychangers out of the temple. Sin anger is not sin but anger puts you right on Edward you're not careful you can sure step into sin because it's such a violent emotion such a strong emotion.
The Bible says hey in your anger do not sin. I look what it says do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold. By doing them. The second principle is this. Do not let the day and the without your conflict resolved, that we just define what it means to be resolved.
Right you know how to do it. So don't let the day end of without resolving whatever conflict it is that you're in the middle of Woodburn and I first got married. We talked about this principle and we decided that we would honor this principle in our marriage, and then we got married and then we leave. You know, we had to really put this to the test and there were some days where I would literally this really happen in the early years of our marriage. Why would sit on the side of the bed and say you not get in bed. Yes I am get out the way. Oh no you not you are not getting in the bed because remember we made an agreement that we do not go to sleep to. We have talk this through and we have resolved it and somebody has admitted there wrong and somebody has asked for forgiveness and somebody has granted it so it's going to be a long night. Brenda, until we talk about this because you're not going to bed and I'm stronger you are and is not happening. We're going to solve this before we go to bed now. Why is that so important and let me just say that doesn't mean that you can't back off during the day for a little cooling off.
I mean, you may get into the fight at noon or 5 o'clock in the afternoon and sometimes it's good to cool off a little bit before you come back a few minutes later and talk about it. Sometimes it's good to walk away for an hour to all or for more and think about it and pray about it. A lot of times when you come back. It's easier to resolve. But don't let the day in without resolving it. Why is that because the next day.
It's harder to talk about it the next day you get up and you turns into a cold war over hot coffee first thing in the morning. It's awful difficult to get back in and talk about these kinds of all of disputes and arguments.
The next day they can't get across economy, get plaque on a Matthew sleep on him all night and are not as easy to talk about and then they become one of those things that just go as a stamp into the stamp book and then they come back to get you know you settle it before you go to bed.
Principle number three is when there is an argument stick to the ground rules and under this point I got for ground rules to give you ready ground rule number one. Stay away from words like never and always. You never listen to me when I'm talking to you what you think I'm doing right now I'm standing here stare that John heard every word you just said that's what I mean you never listen you always think of yourself first. You have never done an unselfish thing in your life.
Never I've never done a single unselfish thing in my whole life never was he when you're talking like that you can't possibly make any headway. We made an agreement in our marriage that the words always and never cannot be used in an argument you and you not allowed to use him. Brenda will say you always go can't use that word to use that word. You never use that word you say most of the time, but not always, because it would people say always and never they give you no place to go. Can you ever possibly defend yourself against those words second ground rule.
Make sure you stay on the issue if the issue was that your partner forgot to do something they promise to do talk about that issue. Talk about that issue only don't bring in 45 other issues that have absolutely nothing to do with it. Stay on the subject and talk about one thing at a time that you know arguments between couples are famous for getting off the subject he started out talking about the fact that you promise to stop and get a gallon of milk on the way home and the next thing you know you talking about what you did to her mother three years ago now. If the issue is I forgot to get a carton of milk on the way home and let's talk about the fact I forgot to get a carton of milk and this only thing were frightened about ground rule number three is there's no character assassination. I can't emphasize this strongly enough, is that we mean by that. Let's say I forgot to stop and get a gallon of milk on the way home okay. If that's the issue. Let me tell you arguments often go. They often skip from that to saying you are so selfish you are so insensitive.
You are so self-centered you are egomaniac because I forgot to stop and get a carton of milk not nonstop for second and think forgetting to stop and get a carton of milk is an act that idea that I can apologize for shooting even fix it.
I go get the car and go get a carton of milk but all of a sudden when you let that go over to assassination of character you are selfish you are insensitive you are self-centered you are egomaniac see you're not on the issue anymore. Now your chopping away at that person's character you're assassinating their character and that causes hurt and that causes damage and that causes alienation and pain that long after the carton of milk is forgotten about your still smart and losing and bleeding from those nasty things that were said not about the carton of milk but about your character focus character assassination is unacceptable in an argument and when we get into a fight in any comment, I got is made.
We start stop Brenda stop whichever we go. Wait a minute that's character assassination that is unacceptable.
That is deplorable and that is not coming into this argument. We are not going there force ground rule. Finally Brownlee D is you can't bring something up once and it's been forgiven, it becomes non-admissible as evidence. Many see why it's so important to make the other person say yes, I forgive you because now when you're in a fight.
A month later, six months later and they go. Yeah, that was just like the time you even when it well.
Didn't you forgive me for that will yeah I want.
Sorry that it's inadmissible as evidence of forgiven information cannot be admitted as evidence that I want to admit it.
Well, I'm sorry the rules are, you can yeah but it applies to no-no.
Did you forgive me yeah but I'm sorry I did with that stuff. That's too bad you did and it is no longer admissible as evidence. Those of the four ground rules.
Let's go over him again one more time real quick ground rule number one is stay away from words like never and always ground rule number two. Make sure you stay on the issue ground rule number three there is no character assassination allowed him ground rule number four once something is forgiven, it is not admissible as evidence anymore ever again ever again, and this is why so important to get that person to say yes, I forgive you.
Now principle number four okay principle number four is if somebody starts breaking the rules. There's no further discussion until they agree to keep the rules you see it you got a hold one another accountable to the rules, which means that that's why so important for you to listing rules and agree on the rules before you get into an argument when you're still in your right mind. This is important when everybody's calm and everything is nice.
We need to agree on the rules and then we need to hold each other accountable for the rules we've agreed on many times Brendan I've had an argument where I have said or she has said wait a minute, you're violating the rules when you know argument in one human selenium violating the rules.
Well, you just use the word never never use. Never yes you did yesterday, and if you don't stop I'm breaking off the discussion and I'm walking out when you're walking out well you didn't keep the rules I walk in and we have done that both Brenda and I to the other one have walked out of the discussions. A look when you're ready to keep the rules come back and talk about it some more. You call me when you're ready to keep the rules but do not come to keep the rules were not discussed in this matter. Here just turn to walk out the door, walk in the other room that's important to has to be accountability if we agree on the rules got a hold each other accountable to the rules and we gotta say, hey, if you're not going to keep on, we're not discussing because if we do want to say some things and do some things that we are going to be so sorry for that to be so damaging and so hurtful that I'm not even let the discussion happen on-call time you're not keeping Marines foul and I'm outta here. You call me when you want to keep the me principle number five is realize that you and your partner are always going to have differences that you will never close the gap for me no matter how close you are, no matter how many years are together there certain things you just never going to agree about her. That's okay I mean God doesn't want the two of you to be clones. You know what I'm saying he wants there to be different. He wants there to be dynamic tension. As I told you many times my wife and I don't agree on all on almost anything. You name it we disagree virtually anything you don't believe me ask anybody who knows us. We disagree on how to spend money. I'm not understand how to do it. She done from her point of view. She understands how to do it no we disagree on all on the Connor house to buy. We disagree on the counter card by we disagree on the counter close to where the party we disagree on everything, everything. We don't even agree on the convocations we want to take what that's okay that's okay we don't have to be like, and it doesn't mean we got a bad relationship if we don't agree on everything, but he needs even when we disagree, we have to know how to handle it so that we can resolve it and keep going and please principle number six and finally realize that forgiveness has to be a way of life in a relationship. I don't know how I can stress this any stronger than I then I want to, you know, in relationships, people hurt each other, you know people I mean you can't be in a relationship and not hurt the other person it just it just happened in the couples that make it the relationships that survive our relationships were both people begin to understand that forgiveness has to be a way of life that we don't keep score and say you know I forgiven you a Tom Jones to give me six so I'm heading you now know know how many times do you want me to forgive you. Well I can you draw the symbol for infinity. I may not see answer that question forgiveness. It is is a way of life for couples and the couples that make it on the couples that learn to get comfortable with the idea that when you live your hurt people don't mean to hurt people. You just still and forgiving one another, just has to become a normal expected part of the relationship is not anything special. It's not anything out of the ordinary is just part of what you have to do to make a relationship work. I have to honestly say I married one of the most forgiving human beings I've ever met, and though that wasn't that was a gift from God because you know I do. Probably more stupid things than anybody I've ever met. Also, and you know I'm constantly going to Brendan gone Brenda Yarmo. Sorry about that.
I really one Lincoln I mean I one use in my head, will you forgive me and you know I asked for forgiveness.
Probably 10 times for every time Brenda does wants that my son came to me the other day and he said he said how come you're the one that always asked for forgiveness and mom never does. I said will go ask your mom, you know the answer he got because your day is one that always is wrong. Okay well you know what there's a lot of truth to that, I mean she's not too far wrong and I married one of the most wonderfully forgiving people in the world. I have pulled some of the most boneheaded things you have ever heard of in your life.
I mean, some things that I you know you just can't even believe a person could really do.
And Brenda just keeps bouncing back in forgiven bouncing back and forgiving bouncing back and forgiving. I mean, in spite of the stupidity of some of the things bouncing back and forgiving. It's wonderful to be married to a person who knows how to forgive. That's why marriages make it because we get comfortable with the idea that forgiveness is what this is going all be about stock will be about eventually get it right so we don't hurt each other anymore. That's not going to happen. It's about getting comfortable with the notion that I am a forgive her and that's okay. Let's review what are the six principles number one resolve conflict just don't declare cease-fires principle number two resolve conflict before you let the day in don't let it get get plaque on it so the next day you can get the plaque off and it just becomes a stamp and the stamp book that later gets thrown at your sick sick before you go to bed.
While its current number three agree on and hold each other accountable for keeping the ground rules ground rule, a don't use never and always ground will be stay on the issue. Ground rules see don't assassinate your partner's character and ground rule D once you forgiven something in can't bring it up again.
Principle number four make sure that both of you have the right to hold each other accountable to keeping the rules and some island people you break it off, you don't let a fight go on people or violate the rules someone is going to get hurt. Principle number five, except the fact that there would be some differences that will never change, and that's perfectly okay.
You never going to agree on everything, and that's fine and principle number six. Learn to get comfortable with the idea that forgiveness is nothing special it's just a way of life for couple that's going to make as I said earlier, these are very simple principles that are not profound and they're not hard but they changed our marriage. When Brenda and I began saying these are the principles were to live by these principles were to fight by and these are the principles that were gonna run our marriage relationship by, and I'm telling you what are you dating somebody with you married to somebody if you will follow these principles. It will enable you to make it to your 50th anniversary wouldn't be a wonderful thing if you live that long.
You'll make it there if you follow these simple principles about how to fight they got help you do that. Let's pray together for Jesus, thank you for reminding us tonight the things to work don't have to be complex.
They don't have to be profound. They don't have to be overwhelming.
They don't have to be so esoteric that nobody can get their arms around them, things can be very simple and father I pray that you would use these very simple principle that Brenda and I have hacked out in the trenches of marriage for 24 years. First, simple principles that you've taught us based on the word of God to encourage the folks who are here tonight and father saying them having to go through a lot of the pain and the heartache that Brenda and I went through before we learned these principles and whether folks here are thinking about a dating relationship, or whether there married in their thinking about these principles and how they apply to marriage relationship. I pray that you would give them a heart to not only listen to these principles, but to put them in action and their relationship to hold each other accountable for them to really run their relationship on the basis of these principles the Lord.
I know if they will that you will give them relationships that don't rip each other apart and you will give them relationships that last and we pray these things in Jesus name, amen