4. Giving vs. taking. Each person in this new family must understand and accept the fact that this new relationship will require many changes. Everyone must enthusiastically choose to become a giver and not expect to just receive. It is critical that the overriding principle that governs all aspects must be:
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
I would suggest that as parents you sit and explain to the whole family that selfishness is the cause of every conflict and that it can greatly hinder the success of the family. James confirmed this when he warned, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:16). Therefore, explain to the entire family that if they want the relationship to be successful, everyone must become a giver. This will build harmony and provoke others to give.
Jesus explained this principle when He said, “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12). Therefore, as you sacrificially give to your mate and each of the children without partiality, and as your children do the same, seeds are being sown that will yield abundant fruit in your home. If you want others to be considerate and willing to seek compromise, you take the initiative and be the example. Try it and see what happens.
5. Lots of communication. Communication is the lifeblood of your relationship, without it you will slowly drift apart and your marriage will die. To keep your relationship alive you must be able to verbally give and receive. Think about it. There is no better way to resolve conflicts than to listen and respond to others in love. Effective communication enables you to find the forgiveness, reconciliation, and the solutions you desire. The most dangerous thing is when individuals give up trying to communicate. When this occurs, you must realize that you and your family are in serious trouble. You must restore a dialog, or all you can expect is greater division ahead.
If this is where you and your spouse are today, you must reverse direction. How? Seek an opportune time, as soon as possible, and tell your mate that you believe that you have committed a serious error by not discussing the problems or attempting to resolve them earlier. Commit yourself to continued talks until you have both agreed on a compromise. Also see Vol. 5 Issues 2 and 3 of this publication for further help finding solutions to your communication difficulties. Remember: keep talking until you find a solution!
6. Seek unity through reconciliation. One of the easiest ways to destroy the unity of your family is to allow conflicts to go unresolved. Don’t let this happen! Paul explained the steps to keeping unity with others.
Let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
Paul makes it clear that if you want peace in your relationships with others you must take actions that promote peace and build others up.
Can you think of specific actions that you can take to obey this command in relation to your mate or children? Could you speak with family members in a way that would encourage them and show respect? When an offensive behavior occurs could you simply overlook it and choose not to make a sarcastic remark? If you’ve promised a family member a favor or to refrain from an annoying behavior, keep your commitment. Remember, the small acts of love add up to an overall impression that you do truly care.
The most important thing is to not allow conflicts to go on unresolved. This is your best prevention against disaster. Unresolved issues are like the pressures that erupt a volcano, very powerful.
Therefore, when conflicts arise, go and lovingly confess your faults, ask forgiveness, and pray with one another (Matt. 7:5) (James 5:16). Calmly talk the issue through until a solution is reached. Don’t walk away frustrated. Your marriage is worth it, and your family deserves nothing less!
Click here if you missed Understanding How to Blend Your Family – Part I
If you would like more information on the marriage ministry of Pastor Steve Carr or his book Married and How To Stay That Way, please visit Covenant Keepers
Excerpt republished with permission from Covenant Keepers by Pastor Steve Carr, Copyright 2013