Monday, 14 May 2018

Couple remediation



Couples need to find an equilibrium, and they need to work out tensions. But in the midst of an escalating discussion, with passion growing, you may note that the elements of the discussion have been lost and both parties are speaking hurtful nonsense (fool-talking). Arguing for the sake of arguing, and this is a very destructive place to be. When anger has entered into the discussion and throttles it like the space shuttle challenger, it is going to explode. Wherever the disagreement may have begun, if you find it is moving into verbal jabs for the sake of harm, it is time to take a break. The devil works within the confines of your anger. He eggs you on to try and destroy for the sake of destruction. He particularly wants to break godly fellowship.
“Do not give the Devil a foothold” (Eph 4:27)

Break away from the inferno and allow yourself and your combatant a period of calm. It is in the quiet time away from the maddening heat that the Spirit will offer refreshing water again. But you must seek His water; Talk to the Father. Take a walk and pray, and the devil’s lies will start to unwind.  Even if you are the only one that does this, you will be in a better place to diffuse the bomb that still awaits you when you return. The devil destroys. God builds. And with the Spirits light your pride will diminish and that which angered you will seem so much smaller than it did previously.

When I speak of a couple it can take on many forms. It could be family members, close friends, boas, betrothed, or covenantal. 

One of the primary things I’ve noted is that the couple no longer hears one another.  Or they don’t actually understand what their partner is saying or feeling. When I studied debate in school I was taught that the debaters must both agree to the same definitions of the words they are using. If two people are using a word differently, it can lead to confusion. Both debaters might actually be on the same page and be lost in a linguistic labyrinth. Slow down and take the time to understand one another. And realize that an emotional individual will not be able to express themselves as well as when they are calm. Words spoken in hostility should be forgotten and seen as remnants of a sinful nature desperately trying to make a last stand.

Allow me to present an example of how far a misunderstanding can be allowed to root. It can root so deeply that it can uproot the relationship. I will ethereally relate an internet couple to you that I witnessed break their fellowship by arguing the same point, yet both thought the other was saying the exact opposite. Silently hover with me above them and observe the odd juxtaposition of two endpoints, which were in actuality the same endpoint, but they in their blissful momentary narcissism could not see it. The devil blows to inflate pride and stoke glowing embers to flame. Hopefully this real example will illustrate why two people need to deescalate and listen, and then to listen some more. Communication removes conundrums. Make sure you have something real you’re disagreeing on.

Councillors are privy to the two vantage points in a conflict. And it is with surprise that a councillor finds two people so confused that they are arguing despite being like-minded on the subject. It is from this outside vantage point that I’ll try and illustrate the corrosive strength of miscommunication. 

Case study:

Tom and Sue have a deeply spiritual Christian friendship. They have never physically met and live in different countries. They both regard one another as best friends. The friendship has borne much fruit, and both rejoice in celebrating God with one another. They are a church of 2 that supports, prays, and studies scripture together. They genuinely love one another.

It is in this dynamic that troubles begin. Within the monotheistic circle males and females do not seek close friendships. This one starts with an evangelical Tom stumbling upon a new born Sue loving Jesus. Sue and Tom share and Sue quickly grows to Tom’s stature in Christ.  

With time, Tom and Sue begin to compound small misunderstandings. The devil is at work. He is always at work and bides his time. He will try to twist this relationship into sin or destroy it. He offers confusion, small truths twisted.

Sue knows how the general world operates; Males and females primarily interact for sexual reasons. Tom is a man. She grows fearful that Tom wishes to use her sexually. As such, Sue panics and attempts to lessen their friendship. She pulls back fearing Tom wants her body. Sue doesn’t want a sexualized relationship and thinks Tom does. Ironically, she is wrong and Tom does not want this.

Yet in her explanation to Tom as to why she pulled back, she tells him it’s because they cannot have a sexually active relationship. 

That phrasing, “pulling back because she CANNOT have a sexual relationship” sounds like she wants a sexual relationship, and since she can’t have it she will end it. It can be taken both ways. Tom now sees Sue as wanting him sexually and gutting the friendship because she can’t have him in that way. It almost sounds a bit threatening, like “naughty time or nothing time”. Their deep relationship begins to look a tad shallow to Tom. She only wants sexy time? And without sexual play she is gone? Everything decent and pristine and pure was a mirage? And to Sue, Tom appears a letch manipulating to use her for his ends. 

This is the brilliance of the devil’s plan. It can work whether they want sexy time or not. If there is any hidden sexual inclination in them, this misunderstanding could expose it and sexualize them (having Tom approach Sue carnally). And if there isn’t any sexual inclination, they see one another as spiritual threats now and question one another’s character, undermining the foundations of the friendship.

Tom explains to Sue that he loves her and values their deep meaningful friendship. He likens their time together as “warm fuzzies”.  Tom does not mean eros love but pathos and agape. Sue hears eros and likens “warm fuzzies” as a desire for online nudity and sexual play. It’s like they’re talking different languages. 

“Warm fuzzy feelings” becomes the wedge.  Sue hears it as naughty time and only wants Godly time. Tom means caring affection. He tells her he means affection (and he only desires Godly time as well). She thinks affection means naughty time. She doesn’t know the definition of affection. The man only meant to express his joy in their close friendship. There was no sexual innuendo in his mind. His interest in her wasn’t sexual. Yet his clumsy attempts to elucidate instead confirmed Sue’s erroneous suspicions in her mind. 

Sue presumed Tom’s carnality. Yet Tom saw her as Jonathan saw David.

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (1Sam 18:1 KJV).

He loved her as his own soul. It’s gross to sexualize that. Misunderstandings lead to angst. Angst leads to anger. Anger leads to fights. And fights are hurtful and destructive.

How the heck can this transpire?! The woman is leaving the man because she doesn’t want to sexualize their friendship. The man is frustrated with her because he feels she wants to sexualize it and he doesn’t. They both value the friendship and they both don’t want to sexualize it.

It is amazing how the devil could pull off this coup. The two failed to understand what the other was saying. They both wanted the same thing. They had found someone that wanted what they wanted. They were happy like this. But the interjection of a lie causes friction, they tried to voice their positions, but both focused more on their mouths than their ears. Anger escalated and the devil found his foothold. 

And the metaphoric David and Johnathan break communion in disgust … while the devil smiles.

Lessons

  1.  Seek to understand the cause of discord.
  2.  Make sure you understand the language being used.
  3.  Don’t let anger grow unchecked.
  4.  Be leery of the devil’s whispers. They’re internal (heard inside) and external (from actual voices from those around us).
  5.  Take time in prayer.
  6.  Self-check narcissism. If all you see is you, you are wrong. You only see half of the problem. And as such, you maybe the entire problem.

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