The concept of “family” is vague and uncertain. While some still hold to the scriptural definition, or at least something akin to it, others have very different ideas. In the extreme cases, individuals believe it is all right to physically abuse or even to kill their own flesh and blood. Of course, the vast majority of us can see immediately that this is wrong. However, there are innumerable other ideas which are socially acceptable, yet fall far short of the scriptural pattern. The acceptance of these ideas has had disastrous results.
For example, many households contain only one parent. While in some cases this occurs through no fault of the remaining parent – for instance, when the spouse has died – in other cases, it is the result of the parents’ own decisions. This situation is not good for the children. Consider the following excerpt from a recent column in the Providence Journal:
“Nearly 75 percent of children without fathers spend part of their childhood in poverty. They are more than twice as likely as children from two-parent families to be held back in school and more than four times as likely to be expelled or suspended. They are likelier to die in infancy. Likelier to need treatment for psychiatric problems. Likelier to be injured in an accident, to score poorly on I.Q. tests, to abuse drugs, to become criminals, to commit suicide.”
“Above all, children born and raised out of wedlock are far more likely to get pregnant as teenagers and have children out of wedlock themselves – and thus to begin the cycle anew.”
These factors have an obvious and immediate financial consequence for society: paying for the drug rehabilitation, psychiatric treatment, larger police forces, court time, jail space, and of course the next generation of unwed mothers and their children. More devastating than the financial consequences, however, are the moral consequences.
The people living this lifestyle lose their sense of personal responsibility, dignity, and self-worth. (We are discussing here situations wherein children are intentionally or recklessly conceived out of wedlock.) They develop the attitude that the government ought to provide them their basic needs. On the other hand, those who work to support themselves, and thereby provide for the poor through paying taxes, begin to resent those who receive the help. Thus, we have different segments of society hating and resenting each other. Moreover, those who work begin to feel that the government owes them something, as well. They begin to look for more and more services and handouts from the government, driven by the selfish attitude that they ought to get some “return” on their “investment”. The result is a nation degraded by citizens who complain that they are not being given what they “deserve”. Rather than going out, working, saving, and sacrificing to earn what we want to have, as our parents and grandparents did, modern Americans wait for a handout or a big win at the lottery. Even as we live the most luxurious lives known to man, we wallow in self-pity because we do not have everything we want. This is not how God wants us to live; He loves us, and wants much better for us.
The single-parent arrangement is not the only one that leads to trouble: not by a long shot. Another example is the household wherein both parents are career professionals. Rather than being content to live a simple lifestyle, both parents are working full-time jobs outside of the home in order to gain more and more material wealth, or at least to maintain a more luxurious lifestyle than they otherwise could. So, rather than seeing a father who sacrifices to provide for his family, or a mother who sacrifices to nurture her children, the children instead see two parents who are in continual pursuit of material comfort and worldly pleasure. Is it any wonder if such children grow to be selfish and materialistic? Again, rather than coming home to a mother who teaches and guides him, the teenager comes home to the television, which shows him all manner of fornication and violence – in the most glamorous light. Alternatively, since there is no one home to know where he is, he just stays out and involves himself in violence and fornication – and intoxicants.
These are by no means the only problems, which modern American families make for themselves. The list goes will continue in America with out strong Biblical standards. However, this book is not intended to change society, but to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The above examples are offered as illustrations, to show what happens when we do not follow God’s pattern for the family. As with all of God’s instructions, He designed the family with our best interests at heart. When we follow His ways, we not only have heaven to look forward to, we also live better lives here. This rationally seen when we consider the impact the modern American version of “family” has had upon our children.
Five Approaches to Family and Marriage Conflict:
1. Avoidance: The most commonly used style in conflict management, reflects the belief that it is impossible to both accomplish our personal goals and maintain relationships while in conflict. The basic strategy of avoidance is to withdraw, avoid, suppress, and deny the existence of conflict. The person using this style is unassertive, neither pursuing his or her own interests in the situation, nor supporting others in achieving theirs. Avoided conflict will typically resurface at some point, most likely with more intensity and greater potential for destruction that when first identified.
2. Accommodation: The accommodating response to conflict is characterized by a high concern for preserving relationship, even if it means conceding one’s own goals. Relationship is preserved with out conflict. The accommodating party may feel guilty if he or she causes conflict. Other reasons for choosing this approach include a high need for acceptance by others, and the belief that accommodation will allow those needs to be met. The person who uses the approach of accommodation accepts the burden of responsibility for maintaining the relationship. Accommodation can be effective and ineffective in approaching conflict.
3. Competition: The competitive, win-lose style of conflict management is characterized by very high concern for the achievement of pers
onal goals, even at the risk of damaging or destroying relationships. The person who uses this style may not desire harm to come to others, but he or she is willing to sacrifice almost anything to achieve personal objectives. People who employ this type of style do not always go head to head with opposition. Some times they work subversively. At other times they us the power of words to humiliate and weaken their opponents, until they finally bring them under control. As with avoidance and accommodation, the challenge is not to decide whether competition is good or bad but rather when to wisely choose to use it.
4. Compromise: The person with a compromising style of conflict management proposes the middle ground to others. It reflects some willingness to compete for particular resolution but also some accommodation of the relationship between the parties. This approach is based on the premise that no one can be fully satisfied, so all those involved must submit some of their personal desires to serve the good of both parties. The sense of compromise can have a negative connotation. Compromise can lead to half-hearted commitments and reoccurring conflicts under the guise of new issues. Compromise like avoidance, accommodation and competition, can be appropriately and inappropriately utilized.
5. Collaboration: The collaborative style combines a high concern for both people and objectives. Moving beyond the adversarial positions of conflict. Understanding the true needs of the parties and use a creative process to find a mutually –satisfying solution. Collaboration is not always possible or even desired. Collaboration holds great potential for those in conflict. The effects of the collaborative style are positive when it is consistently applied. Increased trust, stronger relationships, enthusiastic implementing of goals and higher resolution of conflicts are often achieved
Crisis Intervention in Family and Marriage Counseling Conflict:
A state of disharmony between incompatible persons, ideas, or interests; that clash.
A striking or dashing together.
Any interference that may affect the interests of others; especially, with the affairs of another; mediation.
In mediation of crisis or conflict we often encounter danger and opportunity. Instinctively we avoid places where disagreement is common or potential for conflict is high, because we sense danger in those places.
The Latin word for conflict “confligere” means to strike together. This gives us a mental picture of physical conflict escalating to the point where one person angrily strikes at another. The situation presents danger to the people involved in the conflict and those around them.
Conflict has been described as a situation in which the concerns of two people appear to be incompatible. Conflict also exists when two people try to occupy the same place a the same time. They violate personal boundaries.
Wherever there is conflict, there is the possibility that how it is handled (or not handled) will result in those involved.
In Marriage and Family Conflict the crisis are most apparent in our differences over facts, methods, values, and goals.
Conflict over facts: What we believe to be facts.
Conflict over the methods: Not only do we differ what should be done, but we experience great disagreement over how it should be carried out.
Conflict over values: just as a conflict can arise and result from a clash of incompatibility of different perspectives on facts, and methods, it also can result over different values. Values are those ideas, habits, customs, and beliefs that are characteristic of social communities.
Conflict over goals: conflict is a clash of perspectives as people express different goals.
There is a clash of different perspectives on facts, methods, values, and goals.
Also the conflict will reveal and reflect different attitudes and emotions:
· It is interpersonal: Closely connected with who we are as people.
· It is intrapersonal: Closely related with how we interact with each other.
· Conflict is capable of bringing to the surface unconstructive emotions that are irrational.
· Conflict presents an opportunity to change, to struggle, to grow to reflect God’s power of reconciliation in relationships.
Anybody that is conflict free is not experiencing growth… the important changes in us takes place with in the framework of struggle.
In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
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