It’s not unusual to hear people say “I hate confrontation.” Many will do everything they can to avoid it at all costs. It’s especially true for couples. What’s behind this avoidance?
The reality is that confrontation requires us to face issues—often about our behavior—that we’d rather not deal with. It’s not comfortable. It’s not uplifting. It’s difficult, especially when we recognize truth from the confronter. And it can feel divisive.
But if we don’t face the issues, we welcome division into our life. While letting it go may seem more peaceful, it comes at a price: what we accept becomes our culture. Failing to confront is failure to love.
The enemy tries to divide us as a couple. The fruit in the garden led to division for the couple: Adam immediately blamed Eve. So when we stand together, we are powerful. “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven,” Matthew 18:19 (ESV). Our unity is a threat to the powers and principalities that are set against us. (See Ephesians 6:12).
In my life, what I didn’t like was being confronted about my own behavior. Pride should not keep us from living a transparent life with our spouse. For men, pride and ego can be a double-edged sword. My pride must not keep me from discovering things that have to be confronted so we can walk back into agreement.
Let’s talk about different outcomes of confrontation. One of the outcomes is from the world view that creates a winner and a loser in every argument. This winner/loser approach chips away at the love relationship between husbands and wives. If you must win at all costs, before long you realize you are married to a “loser”. The enemy begins to whisper and highlight other behaviors that confirm this lie. This is in total contradiction to what God says about us.
The word of God makes clear what He thinks of confrontation. John 21:15-17 tells us the story of Jesus confronting Peter after the crucifixion. Peter, having denied Him three times had returned—shame-filled and guilt ridden—to fishing and taken others with him. Jesus confronts Peter and asks him three times, “Do you love me”? By the third time Christ inquires, Peter’s response shows signs of grief and frustration.
What was the point? What was Jesus after? Was it to lead Peter to a point of repentance, freeing him from the distortion he lived in or was it something else? Christ’s goal was love. In confrontation, He wanted Peter to know in his heart that Jesus loved him and was asking to be restore connection to Him.
Connection is the goal of confrontation.
How did Jesus confront Peter? In this account, Jesus does not demand Peter repent for denying Him. He spoke in love.
Love is the language of connection.
How can the process of loving reconnection be wrong? It can’t.
If we can see confrontation as a positive opportunity in our lives as a couple, it changes both the process and the outcome of conflict. It has the potential to bring us to a place so we know where we are which is important so we can get where we want to go.
Where do you want to go? Are you willing to avoid confrontation with your spouse and sacrifice connection? Or are you willing to see it as a tool to walk together in the power of agreement?
Ron DeArmond has served in ministry positions with Christian Men’s Network and Faithful Men Ministry and has ministered internationally, teaching men’s curriculum. He is currently the director of men’s ministry at Catch the Fire/DFW. Ron and his wife, Deb have been married for more than 40 years. Together they wrote, Don’t Go to Bed Angry, Stay Up and Fight.
Publication date: August 10, 2016