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Panel Discussion On Godly Marriage

Panel: Gar Bozeman, Bethany Clark, Rob Conti, and Little Holloway.

Moderator: Spencer Davis


I want to start leading my wife and kids toward the Lord but I did not grow up in a home like that. Where and how do I start?

Gar Bozeman:

The first place to start is your own personal holiness, that’s the biggest component to leading your family well, if you’re not in the Word, if you’re not in prayer, then you’re not gonna have the wisdom or knowledge to back that up. Secondly, I would say is to serve your wife well, the picture of the marriage relationship is a proclamation of the gospel, so your kids are gonna learn so much about what the gospel is and what it was meant to be by how you serve and love your wife well, so if you want them to have good biblical perspectives of what manhood and womanhood look like, then you need to serve your wife well. Next up, I put, have a deep love for scripture. You have to be in the word. In our home, one thing that’s been effective for us is just setting aside time in the evening, and it doesn’t mean that we’re so regimented that it’s always taking place right on time, but setting aside 20-30 minutes to either memorize scripture as a family throughout the week; just have time and study. We have younger kids, so one thing that’s been helpful for us lately is Jesus’s parables to talk in parables, it helps children understand. We’re able to talk through those things. Last thing I put was that to be the spiritual leader in the home, you really need to know those spiritual needs of your wife and your kids, and as they grow up, those things change.

So what I see is, I have a boy who’s 11 or 12 years old now, and as he’s entering into a new season, now his spiritual needs are changing, I need to focus more about teaching him how to use his strengths to serve others and to protect and to guide that. I have a daughter who’s nine years old, so now it’s time, the need there is for her to start to find her identity in Christ and to shape that. And then I’ve got one who’s sick, so with him, it’s just really setting a good biblical foundation like solid Gospel truths, and leaning into those things and being intentional about them, I think is really how you’re gonna change the course in the home, going from not having that background to setting up your children to have success with their children and so forth.

I am more of a natural leader than my husband. How can I encourage him to lead without manipulating the situation?

Bethany Clark:

That was great. Okay, so I’m more of a natural leader than my husband… If you’re asking this question, probably you are first born and you’re probably… Your tendency is that if you see poor leadership, you wanna fix that… I’m speaking for myself there. So that is true of myself. If I see something that’s not being done right since I was a kid, I’m the one that’s gonna fix that, the problem is when you carry that into a marriage, that’s not what God intended. In Colossians 3:18 it says, “Wives submit to your husbands.” My problem, when we first got started was that submission, if I saw something that needed to be addressed or fixed, I wanted to… That’s my personality, I’m justice based, I want to see justice served, righteousness implemented quickly, and he would say, “I’m gonna pray about that.” And that would get all over me because I saw it as an action and the Lord, it took a really… We had a… We laugh, we’re gonna be married 15 years in May, and we celebrate 14 good ones, and one really, really hard one, because that year I really had to just fight really and wrestle with the Lord because I needed to learn that sometimes just giving him a minute and let him when he says he’s praying about something, he is praying about something.

And that is more powerful than anything I could say or do. And a lot of times, the thing that the Lord taught me over that year was my perception of my own ability to discern situations or that I was right in my own eyes, I don’t… Now, the Lord has stripped that me and I’m so thankful because I don’t trust my own discernment, I do not. When something comes up, I’m like, “Hey, what do you think?” Because I know that he prays, I know that he’s in the word. Now, if your husband is not a believer, the Bible says that you can win him, if you will, just chill out for just a minute and give him a chance, maybe ask him “How can I best serve in our home this way?” Studying your man, figuring out for Shawn and I, he’s a steady guy, he’s not all over the place. I know what to expect, but there are times in our marriage that he says, “Hey, don’t put me on your list, I’m not on the schedule.” And I’m like, “Oh, okay, hold on, I’m really sorry.” And I have to be humble and I have to stop.

He’s not one of the kids, he’s my husband and I need to ask him before I move forward, but I’ve had to learn that ’cause I’m a… Hey, I’m gonna think I’m gonna go first and then I’m gonna see if that’s okay, what we just did. And he taught me graciously through his patience that I’ve gotta do it the other way. If you’re in an unbelieving situation, same thing, God says, to submit to your husband, now you’re gonna also have to submit to God in that unless he’s asking you to do something contrary to his word, you might need to just serve your husband by submission and just see what God does, give him time, see what the Holy Spirit will do through your obedience, even if you don’t like it, even if it goes against… If you ask this question, that’s gonna bother you, ’cause you’re not gonna like that, you’re gonna wanna do it your way and you’re gonna wanna have it done right, but you’re gonna have to take a minute and trust the Lord, trust him to be your Father, and put that the last thing I would say is in Genesis 3, we see the Eve is tempted there in the garden, she adds to the rules, we’re gonna talk about this at the women’s retreat, but when she’s talking to the enemy in the garden, she adds to the list of things here she says, “God says, You shall not eat of it for the tree that’s in the midst of the garden, Neither shall you touch it.”

She adds to the rules, God never said that. A lot of times, women we’re deceived by our own thoughts, by our own sense of what we think is right, and our husbands, God has complemented us with them, and if we will just give them time, it will serve us. The Bible promises that He says to do it. And he’s gonna meet that if you’ll just let him have a chance, and so that’s what I would say.”

How do we move past deep hurts that we’ve caused each other in the past, and what does forgiveness look like moving forward?

Rob Conti:

And it’s kind of broad, so I’m gonna say some general things, and obviously, depending on what deep hurts means, it might need more attention and obviously more specific council, but I’m gonna start with really where everything is gonna start for us, the foundation of understanding the Gospel for ourselves, understanding our identity in Christ and the forgiveness that if you’re a believer, if you’re a child of God, the forgiveness that you’ve received… That is foundational. I already talked about this morning, if those things are in place vertically, and then I have the opportunity to horizontally have that type of relationship where there can be forgiveness, there can be reconciliation, things that seemed insurmountable all of a sudden are very manageable. And by the grace of God. So I wanna read real quick from Colossians Chapter 3, and he is talking about our identity, he’s talking about because we’ve died with Christ, because we died with Christ, and we’ve been raised with him, and that Christ is our life.

And then there’s things that we can take off and there’s things that we can put on, and then he says this in… Starting verse 12, “Put on then as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another. And if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive, and above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body and be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom. Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God, and whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” So I think that passage alone would be an awesome place to start, if you know, okay, you’re on the same page, you know there’s hurts and your past hurts, there’s been on both sides, offenses, and you know you need to move forward, and it’s to be an awesome place to meditate and to work through this passage together and to begin to apply these things as you’re vertically personally going to the Lord to receive that forgiveness, receive that amazing grace when there is no greater offense than one of the created being sins against this Holy God.

Period, nothing trumps that. There’s nothing more evil than that, so for us to receive forgiveness from God, man, how much more then should we be able to extend that forgiveness, how much more should we be able to take that grace we’re receiving and bend that towards our spouse? So that has to be the starting point. The foundation. And then I do think within that, within the relationship, and to know what repentance looks like on both sides, if you’re in the situation, if you’ve been offended and the person is asking for forgiveness, then yeah, to be able to extend that to them, but to realize, okay, forgiveness is not gonna look the same. If they’re not asking for forgiveness, if they’re not owning their sin, if there’s a qualification to their apology… You know what I’m saying? I’m sorry, but. You tag that but on there and you just ruined your apology, you just showed, “I’m not repenting.” Like if you’re repenting of something, man that comes without qualification, that that comes with a… Whatever it takes, attitude, “I’ve offended you and I’ll do whatever it takes to make it right. And that means that I’m letting go of whatever rights I thought I had in this argument, whatever angles I think I can take to win the argument to make myself look better, and then I let go of that and just say, ‘That was my fault. I’m sorry, and whatever it takes to make it right, it’s what I’m willing to do.'”

Which means that there’s no demands placed on what their forgiveness of your actions are gonna is gonna look like, ’cause you may be able to forgive your spouse or your spouse may forgive you. And it may take a long time for their emotions to catch back up. It may take a long time, they may forgive you, but it may take a long time for trust to be rebuilt, and they take a long time for them to genuinely show like they’re excited that your home again. That takes time and work, and if you’re real, but if you’re really repentful, you’ll be willing to wait through that and to know like, “Okay, I’ve gotta earn that genuine response back. If I wanna make love to this person again, I want them to feel safe and secure, and appreciate it and loved. And I don’t wanna rush that.” So Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and so we can, whatever has happened within our marriages, there’s redemption possible, not based on my love, not based on my spouse’s love, but based on the love of God through Jesus Christ, that we can then extend to one another.

We’re trying to use hospitality to reach people for the gospel. So do you have any tips on how we can best do that?

Little Holloway:

Okay, for some of you guys, you’re extrovert, so it’s pretty easy, you just have people in your home, no big deal, and some of you’re introverts, and so having someone in your home would be like the bad dream where you go to school naked. That’s me, honestly, but we’ve had tons and tons of people in our home ever since Brody and I’ve been married, but it is something that Satan does battle against because you think about the physical force of gravity, it just brings everything to the center of the Earth, and then it takes thousands of pounds for a rocket to get out of there, right? So same thing, there’s like a psychological force that wants us to pull everything into ourselves, our tendencies, our home. And so we have to have the love of the Lord and wanting to share that to be able to actually minister to people in our home.

And Christ invited us into his household, and he wants to sit with us and sup with us and sing over us, so the example is there for us to follow. And so one thing that I’ve really have been encouraged by people coming into our homes, whether they’re like newly woods or just a teenage girl, but so many people doubt the faithfulness of Christ to provide a good home, a good family, where the husband is faithful to the wife, the wife is faithful to the husband, the kids are actually obedient and they’re not throwing stuff to each other to see that, to actually see that people need to see that because it’s so absent from everything that’s on TV or in their schools or whatever.

So just the Ministry of that presence when they… Someone walks into your home and they literally walk into the presence of the Lord, that’s a ministry in itself. So don’t be able realm that you have to entertain, it’s actually better if you don’t try to impress or have extravagant meal, and popcorn and Coke, whatever, just like hanging out is the main thing, not trying to impress, ’cause then it basically just flops because at the end of the night, you haven’t had an intentional conversation, the Lord hasn’t been felt in your home because you’re just trying to keep everything nice and tidy. I’m going to read you one thing is what is strategic hospitality? It says, “What I mean by this is the hospitality that thinks strategically and ask, how can I draw the most people into a deep experience of God’s hospitality by the use of my home or my church home? Who might need reinforcements just now in the battle against Loneliness, who are the people who could be brought together in my home most strategically for the sake of the kingdom, what two or three people’s complementary abilities might explode in the new ministry if they had two hours to brainstorm over dinner in my home? Strategic hospitality is now… “

Is not content to just have the old clan over for dinner again and again. It strategizes how to make the hospitality of God known and felt all over the world, from the lonely church member right here, to a farmer in Liberia, don’t even ever underestimate the power of your labor room as a launching pad for new life and hope and ministry.” So just even being strategic with it is really cool thinking, if you know somebody who’s super organizational and some in this real creative and is the idea guy, having those people in your home together so the Lord can create and stir up different forms of ministry in your home, and you can be able to host that in your home.

And then as far as it kind of being careful with family time, if you have a couple of nights, set aside in your home where you have that family time where you’re just hanging out, reading the scripture then yeah, maybe don’t let that be tampered with, keep those nights. Maybe it’s Wednesday night, Sunday night, keep those for your family only, but really just having people in your home and let me be spirit-led, I think a lot of times, say, if you’ve got issues with your teenage son and you’re dealing with him looking at stuff on his phone or your little girl is being a brat, well, you don’t wanna necessarily bring somebody in that night, you might wanna be able to just focus and just really work on that within your family, so you have to be spirit-led as in anything, it’s just when the time is right and all that. But I think that’s good.

When should we seek counsel from outside our marriage for an issue versus protecting each other by just dealing with it ourselves?

Rob Conti:

So I will start with I guess at the foundation of checking your own motivation for why you would want to communicate with somebody else I think is the important step because… And you probably experienced this, you’ve seen it, if not struggled with it yourself, you’ve heard somebody else do it where you maybe made the mistake of asking them how their spouse was doing, and next thing you know is you’re 10 minutes into it and they’re just on a rant about their spouse. And if you’re on the other side of that, it’s uncomfortable like, “Oh man, you’re trashing your wife right now,” and if it’s a dude, I’ll stop them like, “Time out.” So what’s the motivation? Is it to… Am I simply just gossiping? Am I slandering? Am I trying to gain attention and sympathy by belittling my spouse and making myself look better, and so it’s simple just motivation, what’s at the heart of this and to check that again against the gospel. And then I think… Hopefully, that’s not the case, right? But if it is, that’s a sin that needs to be repented of and worked through to guard and protect one another, that should always be the motivation, that my motivation in my marriage should be to guard and protect not to hurt and heap shame, and always working towards redemption and the picture of the gospel.

And then I think from there is having the conversation, not in the midst of the issue, but backing up from the issue and saying, “Alright, what are we comfortable sharing with other people?” Just having that conversation with one another and you know people in your life that are very, very guarded where you don’t really know anything personal about them, when you try to ask them these questions they’re deflecting, and then you know other people where you’re like, “I never wanted to hear that. And I don’t think I can ever talk to you again.” Right? And so somewhere in the middle is what we’re all aiming for, but to have the conversation, okay what are we comfortable saying and then who are we comfortable sharing sensitive information with. And ’cause for my wife, she may have friends that she would desire to share things with and go, “You know what, I don’t feel the same, I don’t… And it’s not against that person, but I just don’t trust this sacred information from within our family to that person.” What about this person or what about if we went outside a little bit further to an older godly couple that’s maybe not as tied in as tightly to our community to get counsel on this specific thing, and so having that conversation, just always seeking to be on the same page with one another, I think is really important.

And so then from there, I would say there’s a few that are just… Should be obvious, and I wanna give you, but maybe in the situation doesn’t feel obvious or you don’t feel freedom here, and I wanna say, man, if there’s abuse, whether that’s sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, where you’re being physically assaulted and sexual assault happen, it’s not uncommon within marriage that sexual assault happens, and if that’s the situation, then absolutely. You need to get help from the outside. And if in a moment of clarity in the light of day, if your spouse isn’t on the same page with you on that, they wanna hide and cover that sin in the sense of a fig leaf, then yeah, you may have to take some drastic steps where you say, “You know, I love you, but I gotta get help, this is not safe and this is not healthy,” and you need to get outside help to bring in a pastor or a counselor or maybe even legal help on a situation like that. Oftentimes, especially for women in an abuse situation, they feel so isolated and alone and that they’ll be even greater repercussions if they go outside the home with that, but it’s really the only way to help.

Somebody to help him get over those hard issues that would cause him to do any of those things. So I think those are obvious ones where you gotta get help, you gotta go to somebody you trust, who can be your advocate to get you the type of help that you need for both of you for your marriage. And there’s so much I wanna say there. And men, men, if that’s you, if you are the abuser, like you’ve got to have… You’ve got to muster up at least enough courage to go ask another man to help you. If you know at home when no one else is looking, that you’ll put your hands on your wife… Or your children and you can’t control yourself, then you better muster up, screw them on and muster up enough courage to go outside your house and look at man in the eyes and say, “I need help.” Did I answer the question? That’s a big deal, it’s a big deal. And oftentimes, both people feel trapped there, the one being abused feels trapped, and then the one who’s the abuser continues to lie to themselves and tell themselves that I will never do that again. I’ll never do that again, I’ll never do that again. You lie to yourself and you put yourself back in the same situation, you have to break the cycle, you have to get outside help.

How would you counsel a wife whose husband is battling an addiction to porn?

Little Holloway and Rob Conti:

Little: Alright. So first of all, I’ve never had to experience this, but if you’re in here and you have… I wanna say I’m sorry, first of all, and I hope that you could just wait through it and be thankful for the intervention that you did find out. I remember a couple of times like just having to find out something that wasn’t good and it was awful to find it out, but just being so thankful that the Lord intervened at that moment, so just fighting to even be thankful for intervention is a huge thing. I think a lot of times when a lady from one of the ladies I’ve talked to, when they found out that this has occurred, they start kind of… Sometimes they have a knee jerk and they start kinda carving like an idol out of their husband, like what did I do, what can I do to make him not look at this, how can I make my body look better, how can I draw his attention? And they start carving this idol that is very, very draining, and they want constant approval and affirmation from their husband, and this just puts a worse strain on everything.

Your husband is not meant to bear the weight of that idolatry, but you’re also not meant to bear the weight of preventing his sin. And so I have six thoughts that hopefully, I’ll just run through them really quick that hopefully just the Lord can just relieve you of some of their emotion. But first of all, I’d say if there’s pride and entitlement in your heart stirring, it’s gonna be a huge hindrance to the process. If you went in to the doctor’s office, and you said, “Hey, I’ve got a fever and cold chills.” And the doctor said, “I’m not really sure what’s going on,” and they give you some antibiotic. But if you said, “Oh, I also got a gun shot wound in my back, that could be maybe what’s going on.” Oh yeah, that makes more sense. Hopefully, this makes sense, but a lot of times if you’re striving for… If you’re bitter and you’re having bitterness towards your husband and you’re having entitlement, a lot of times what you have is a bigger problem of the pride in your life, and like… I know that sounds harsh, because what you’ve found out, but a lot of times we need to ask the Lord to strip us of our pride and entitlement so that we can have soft eyes and see our husbands with soft eyes and forgive as the Lord forgives us.

You are in this Battle together

So the first one is that you’re not in a battle against your husband, you and your husband are in the battle together. I think Satan tries to isolate the two. And that’s what Satan loves to do. His counsel when were alone. And so if you can realize that this is a battle that you and your husband can fight together, maybe that’ll help the problem, if you’ll go to counseling, if he’ll pray with you, seek community. Or you can find some people that you can trust.

His Sin is Not Your Body’s Fault

The second one. His sin is not your body’s fault, and that kinda goes back to what I was saying before, you take the most beautiful girl on Hollywood, and there is probably infidelity within her marriage at some point, a lot… It doesn’t have to do with your body. And I know I’ve talked to a few ladies who just got consumed with working out and whatever, whatever, and I say something real practical, try to allow your time with the Lord, your time praying over your husband to be way greater than the amount time that you’re trying to fine tune your body and stuff. That’s just something practical.

Embrace the Sovereignty of Christ

The third one is to embrace the sovereignty of Christ and trust Him for your husband. Christ, the Lord is the Lord over your husband struggle. If your husband will ever see the ugliness of his porn addiction, he must first see the beauty of Christ, so if you can start striving in your own walk to try to root and manifest the attributes of Christ, that patience, that loving kindness, that tenderness, long suffering, start to grow those in your own heart and let your husband see the beauty of Christ through those attributes, I think that can help kind of shine a light on his addiction also and allow him to fall more in love with Christ, by seeing Christ in you. The next one is, your sin of bitterness is not justified, and this is like a harsh one again, but in Scripture, it just says, to put aside bitterness. So don’t feel like you’re entitled to that. As crazy as that seems, really pray to the Lord about that. The next one, he needs, your husband needs you and your forgiveness now more than ever. In scripture, when it says to bear with one another, I think this is a time when Christ is really pleading to us to do this is times when your husband’s sin, hurt you and it causes pain, but being able to bear him up in that and forgive and be like Christ, Christ in scriptures says that he delights in showing mercy.

And so fighting to delight and show mercy to your husband is a fight, but I feel like it’s a hopeful cause to pray for. The next one is, your husband is not your Savior, and you are not his. We’re all in need of grace, give your husband to God every day, have hope in his story and your story, and how the Lord’s gonna redeem that and how later on you can comfort someone with that same comfort that Christ has given you in your situation. And a few scattered things. One is, I think when this is going on, I don’t see responsibility sexually towards your husband, if you know he’s looking at porn and this is just something that’s going on, I don’t feel like you have to sleep with your husband… You know, I don’t think that you’re responsible at that point. I know for me, I would have a really hard time with that, so I don’t think that would be your responsibility that you would have under that condition, and just being the peacemaker in your home though, with your kids like seeing the peace in your home, being able to be met and felt amongst all that circumstance and allowing your response and to be contentment in that, and also if your husband isn’t willing to… He kinda told you and isn’t willing to do counseling or anything like that.

Also I always have this example of my grandma, she was saved when she was like eight, I think, and her husband wasn’t a believer, but she was in love with the Lord and love of scripture. I can remember every night, she has a routine type lady, she would put the tape on her side of her hair to keep her hair to be a certain way when she woke up in the morning, she had this full routine every night, but it ended with her falling asleep with her Bible on her chest. She was in love with the scripture and in love with the Lord, and even when she had had strokes later on in life and she couldn’t read well, and she couldn’t really process well, she got one of the Jesus story book Bibles and she would just look through it, and she was content like that in the midst of being married to a man who wasn’t a believer who was pretty ugly to her a lot of the times, but… And she raised two godly daughters. And so finding even having those type of examples of how Christ can make you content and keep you in love with His Word and His character, are hopeful things, so.

Rob: Well, that was awesome. I just wanna follow up a couple of things. One, what Little was saying about that don’t feel like you have to sleep with him, if that’s the case because this is a big deal. Watching pornography, looking at pornography that is committing adultery. No qualifications. It is adultery to look at images on your phone of other people and to lust after them, that is committing adultery. If I were to do that, I would be disqualified from being a pastor at the church that I attend, I’d be disqualified, I’d be done, I’d lose my job here preaching. It is adultery and indeed… And I think it’s become so common that we’ve downplayed it, and it may seem like if your mind, when Little said that was, “Well, that’ll just make things worse.” That’s the problem is, go back to what Gar taught about last night, is we need a biblical view of sexuality, not the world’s view where, “Well, it’s okay if he works up an appetite over here as long as he comes home to satisfy it.” No, that is not the Bible, that is not godly sexuality, that is not honor the Lord.

No, all of it should happen within marriage, and so these are Jesus’s words. Matthew chapter 5:27, “You’ve heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you, I, Jesus, say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye caused you to sin, tear it out and throw it away, for it is better that you lose one of your members, than your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away, for it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” Jesus isn’t being dramatic, he’s being sober and clear, this is adultery, and if you continue in it, don’t think for a second that you’re a believer to continue in gross deliberate sin, a believer doesn’t do that, that path leads to hell, so he’s saying, yeah, desperate measures. Do whatever it takes to rid yourself of that. Do we need to rely on the grace of God and the finished work of Jesus? Absolutely, and then do whatever it takes to rid yourself of that addiction and don’t dare…

Don’t dare place on your wife the expectations of, “Well, if you met my needs more often, I wouldn’t be doing this.” That’s wrong, that is a perversion in your heart that leads you to commit those sins, don’t you put… That’s back to Adam standing next to Eve going, “The woman you gave me God.” Don’t do that, don’t heap your guilt and shame on her, take your guilt and shame to the cross, be forgiven and then walk in repentance, not shame. Walk in repentance, receive God’s grace and move forward.

How is a wife supposed to want and enjoy sex with her husband when things outside of the bedroom are bothering her?

Gar Bozeman:

“Yeah. Okay, so like we talked about last night, sex isn’t the fuel in a relationship, it’s an expression of the health of the relationship, so as I read through this question that I see arguments and lack of regular support, like that’s the highlight I see. I don’t see this as a lack of sexual desire, this is a breakdown of communication in the marriage, so for the husband, if your wife comes to you and says that she doesn’t feel supported, she feels a lack of support, that should be a huge indictment, you should take that seriously, because God’s charge to Adam was to work and to keep; provide, protect. So that means that you are not a safe emotional covering for your wife, you’re not good protection for her, so you can’t expect her to be vulnerable in a sexual relationship and be healthy there, she doesn’t even feel safe emotionally under your covering. So if your wife brings it up so you don’t blow that off, that’s not a conversation to avoid, but as far as the arguments go, so last night we talked about the practical application, leaving that was, I said, go to God and then go to your spouse. And the text I used was a Psalm 139 starting on verse 23.

It says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any previous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” And the idea of that course is to build vertical communication, like Brody talked about. Vertical communication before we start working on like horizontal reconciliation, so leading me in the way of everlasting and searching in grievous way, or like I should be asking the Lord to remove any bitterness in my heart before I enter in that conversation, I should be asking the Lord to the way so I can be an agent for Christ and my spouse’s life, and as I come in, now I should be pushing them towards the Lord, pushing them towards forgiveness and repentance as a way of teaching them to walk in a manner that more closely resembles Christ, but unfortunately what we do a lot of times is we clothe ourselves in self-righteousness and then we walk into that argument and we’re really more concerned about being right, then we are about being reconciled to one another, and that’s a dangerous place to be, ’cause we’re removing the grace, we’re for forgetting God’s grace towards us.

So if you’re willing to bring up the offense, you better be willing to forgive, and when you get to get into that conversation, otherwise what you’re gonna do is that’s just gonna… That argument is just gonna be one more thing that you’re gonna put in your pocket to go along with all the other discontent and all the other lack of support and everything else that you’re adding in, and you’re gonna grow in self-righteousness, and now you’re gonna build this superiority complex over your spouse and you’re gonna create a bigger wedge between the two of you. So I’m not saying that from the sound of it, like I’m not seeing your relationships in a disastrous state, I’m just saying you guys probably need some help with communication, so one, drive that between the two of you, like make it clear to your spouse if there are things that need to be addressed and do that in grace and love, and then if that doesn’t happen, then bring in a mediator, bring in outside counsel, good biblical counsel to help that, and a lot of times, once the communication is open back up and you have an opportunity, then a lot of that bitterness and resentment will go away because when you said that you don’t want or enjoy sex with your husband was ’cause you don’t want or enjoy him outside the bedroom. So if you don’t want him outside, you’re not gonna want him inside, so there has to be communication more than anything.”

What are some guidelines for handling disagreements?

Rob Conti:

Oh man, that was all so good. That’s what I was gonna say. No, really… That was awesome. I’m just gonna give… And we’re done. This was the last question I worked on, and it reveals that my brain was mushy, so I’m just gonna walk through kind of bullet list of what I had written down. I think that’ll be the best.

I wanna start with Proverbs 29:11, that says, “A fool gives full vent to His Spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” And I think that it can be key in a lot of times, if we strive for wisdom, Biblical wisdom, then will learn to restrain our lips, and then there won’t even be offenses that we can… If we filter our emotions, our initial gut reaction through scripture and through a moment of prayer, oftentimes, yeah, we’ll think, “That’s not worth saying right now.” Or you know what? I was about to take offense at something, but if I can filter it through the word of God and extend the benefit of the doubt and think maybe that’s not what she means by that, that look, I’m misinterpreting her look and bringing all this background into it, and imposing it on the… What I perceived as a sideways glance, which means she thinks I’m inadequate as a man and don’t provide well and am too lazy. What? She was looking at the corner of her eye. And so I think just taking the time… And then this is where meditating on Proverbs is so beneficial ’cause it gives us these nuggets of truth that, “Okay, yeah, this is common to man, it’s common for us not to give the benefit the doubt, it’s common for us to be quick to speak and slow to hear, and it’s supposed to be the other way around.”

So some basic principles, I think when there is conflict, when there is a disagreement own what yours to own, always see in it, what’s mine to own right here? I think humility and repentance are contagious. I really do. And I think if you can stop and whatever is going on, whatever disagreement, an argument, if you can think where I maybe am I wrong? Or, how have I been harsh? Or, how have I made the situation worse? If you can stop and own that and just give an unqualified apology and be humble in that situation, it’s… Another proverb bright, Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Man I can defuse so much by just saying, “You know what, I responded to you. I was way out of line. I was harsh, I’m sorry.” Man, that can totally defuse a situation and now we can handle the issue with grace and humility and love, and thinking more about, “Okay, what I did wrong and where I can be corrected rather than what they did to offend me and where I need to get even.” And just diffusing it. Don’t snowball issues, right? This is where a lot of times, if you’re sucked in the moment you’ve gotta be able to push back and go, “Okay, I’m not about to just start firing off everything that I’ve not liked in the past 12 years.” Don’t snowball issues and then deal with the one issue that’s at hand, and…

Pray for humility and wisdom, I think this point is really big, sometimes you just gotta be… You’ve gotta have enough wisdom, get enough self-control if you can feel that you’re on the verge of losing it, to choose the right time, and the right place to talk about it, it may not be right then, and it may need be one of you to say, “You know what, this is not the time and the place.” And say, “Let’s talk about this in the lit today, let’s talk about this one were arrested when we both had time to pray and seek the Lord.” Again, it’ll defuse so much, it’ll stop you from saying harsh and hurtful things that you just can’t take back… Right, you just can’t take it back, there can be forgiveness and grace, but man, once those words are launched, there’s no coming back, so being able to choose the right time in place. Yeah.

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2024 Marriage Conference

October 2024

April 16, 2019

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