Sande writes that the root cause of destructive conflict is unmet desires in our hearts. When we feel we cannot be satisfied if that desire is not met, then the desire becomes a demand. If that demand is not complied with, then we will judge and condemn the other person.
This progression of desire ... demand ... judge ... condemn leads to conflict. Can I stop that progression before it gets all the way to conflict?
Some of our desires are inherently wrong, but some are not. We may desire a clean house, for example. But when we begin to see the object of our desire as essential to our fulfillment or satisfaction, it moves from a desire to a demand and has become an idol.
Whoa!! This hits home. I take pride in having a neat, clean house. I love my label-making machine. Is this wrong? How important is it to me? Do I get upset when the house is not orderly? Yes, all the time. In fact, the one issue which my husband and I fight about the most is the cleanliness of the home, who messed it up, who didn't pick things up, etc. This is a recurring fight and is never really resolved.
But is having a clean house an idol for me? Can I be happy and satisfied if my house was messy? I have to confess I do not think I could be. I think I need my house to be in relative order for me to feel calm, peaceful. If my house is a mess, I feel shame, anger, chaos, frustration, anxious.
This post was inspired by the book "Peacemaking for Families" by Ken Sande.