As a couple in conflict, are you wondering about the right decision?Your disagreement might be over something as simple as the maturity level of the relationship or which family Christmas dinner you should attend, if at all. It could be more complicated, concerning what church we should attend, where we should live, or how our external relationships (business, friends, family) affect each other. Or, more seriously, is this relationship over? Is it time to separate or get a divorce?
These questions are not always easy to answer as a Christian couple.
An answer we offer to Christian couples is Faith Based Mediation. This type of mediation is based upon the principle in 1 Corinthians 6 that we first bring grievances to each other, then to a mediator.
Step One in Mediation
Christ is your first mediator. Take some time. Find a quiet place. Pray about the answers.
- Identify the reasons you are contributing to the disagreement. For example, your relationship might not be the best with your in-laws.
- Consider how your disagreement on the matter affects the other person. For example, your business plan might delay or prevent them from accomplishing their dream.
- Think of solutions that meet both your needs.
Prayer opens you to creative problem solving, and is the important first step in Faith Based Mediation.
Step Two in Mediation
Be willing to listen. Disagreements stem from a variety of reasons, and you may be able to identify yours on your own. Once you do, prioritize communicating these reasons clearly. In conflict resolution, communication is essential. When listening, ask questions if the other person is unclear. Make sure not to indicate that the other person’s feelings are wrong. You have just identified the reasons you are contributing to the disagreement and want to give them the opportunity to do likewise.
Some of your pain might be from a lack of communication, or not going to each other first. As Christians, we manage conflicts by first bringing grievances to each other. Friends and family give great advice, but they are not the ones in your relationship. After going to each other, if you are not able to resolve the conflict or come to an agreement, it is time to bring in your next mediator.
Faith Based Mediation
Since you are reading this, those who normally keep you accountable have advised you to go to a faith based mediator. You may not have been equipped with the tools to be accountable for your own relationship. Being accountable means that you can identify why you are contributing to a disagreement, work through difficulties, and make decisions together.
Some of the options for a mediator are life coaches, premarital or marital mediators and divorce mediators. A life coach can work with you to identify each of your strengths and to set goals that meet both of your needs. A premarital or marital mediator can help you identify and communicate problems when conflicts arise. A divorce mediator can help discern if a divorce is necessary and make the transition as amicable as possible. Faith Based Mediation will help you through the process of becoming a better couple, encouraging accountability and teaching you how to resolve your conflicts.