When I first married Richard, I lay awake every night.I was a city girl and used to the sounds of traffic. Of sirens. Of people.But not quiet rustlings. Scampering. Coyotes howling. Skritch. Scratch. All night long there were sounds. This city girl didn’t know what to do. I felt a little like a little girl afraid of the monster under the bed.
You know it’s not real, but the fear? It’s absolutely real.
Maybe this story makes you laugh. It does me now. But conflict can turn into the monster under the bed.
We get all tangled up in words, or what might happen, or what they really mean, or the intensity of the moment, and somehow the real issues gets lost as the imaginary monster grows in height and dimensions.
It’s hard to fight imaginary monsters, but real issues can be tackled.
Why are you fighting? Has it become habit? Does the real issue hide without hope of resolution while you fight about everything else in sight?
Are you willing to stop fighting long enough to take a look at the real problem so you can deal with it?
Who is the victim? Maybe that’s the focus.
You are the victim of an unjust word or action.
Perhaps your loved one was a victim long before they met you, and you are the one reaping the results.
The real issue, however, is that in cases of prolonged unresolved conflict, everyone becomes a victim.
So we shift focus.
Is there a lack of skills? How in the world can you know how to resolve conflict if you’ve only experienced an unhealthy example? If so, where can you find help to gain those skills? Counseling, books, praying together, godly counsel.
When we begin to address the real issue, there is hope of resolution.
Way back when, as a young married skittish bride, the monsters finally took their rightful place. They became mice. Or a blowing shutter in the wind. Or coyotes howling in the faraway distance.
And that knowledge — the truth — allowed this city girl to turn over and find the rest she needed.