Self esteem and conflict in relationships – dating and marriage: Gleanings from Waridi

Marriage is God’s idea. It is His project. We are to trust God with all our insecurities. We have allowed people to hurt us and gave them permission to define and confine us. But what is the Lord saying about us?

Today I had the privilege of attending a session organized by Waridi the ladies ministry at Nairobi Chapel Ongata Rongai led by Doris Gomez-Situma. The facilitator was Yvette Ondachi the lovely wife to our pastor, Rev. Edward Ondachi. The conversation was around conflict and the role of self esteem in how we as ladies deal with conflict, before and during marriage.

Key themes were:

  • Sharing stories by older women

Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children

  • Asking ourselves important question such as:

1. What triggers self esteem issues for us?
2. How does conflict in relationships affect our self esteem?
3. How do we resolve conflict in relationships?

We had group workshops and the level of authenticity and openness in the safe environment provided was very profound. I will summarize the points highlighted and the summary which I believe will go a long way to help a sister struggling in relationships or marriage know you are not alone.

We are in this together and we’re fighting for our lives, our marriages and our salvation all from a place of victory. Jesus did it all for us, based on the finished work at the cross. None of us need grope in darkness any longer or feel worthless. Before God you are worthy because He has made you worthy! He has chosen you from the foundations of the world. He has loved you with an everlasting love. You are His. Delve into His word to know who He says you are and what He says concerning your battles and your unique situation. All in all know that you are not alone. You will rise above this. You will lift up another sister. It’s true, simply believe.

Now onto the meat of our conversation:

What triggers self esteem issues?

  • Words that are said or not said especially when words of affirmation is your love language
  • Broken promises that make you feel disrespected e.g. on time
  • Taking a no – it feels like rejection
  • Correction and we’re not willing to cede control to our spouse
  • Comments on your dress code
  • When our opinions arr not regarded
  • Broken boundaries e.g. Funny chats
  • Intimidation
  • Background – style of upbringing
  • Conflict due to lack of accountability e.g. placing one’s career above family
  • Lack of career progression
  • Overburdening one spouse in bearing responsibilities
  • In law dynamics
  • Father issues
  • Feeling questioned on our Motherhood and parenting as a whole
  • Meals
  • Comparison with other people
  • Lack of being intentional e.g. ignoring his requests which makes him lash back
  • Name calling and being put down

How does conflict in relationships affect self esteem?

  • We feel less and get into unhealthy habits
  • We don’t grow as we get into a comfort zone
  • It create self doubt as we tend to second guess ourselves
  • We may ignore our spouse and take responsibility upon ourself
  • Negativity and bitterness as we suffer inside
  • Taking it out on others – projecting on children, colleagues at work and domestic helpers.
  • Getting lost, once vibrant ladies get into cocoons and people wonder what changed along the journey of marriage

How do you handle conflict?

  • Avoid it e.g. when you see a conflict about to take place
  • Sleeping on it, sweep things under the carpet i.e. Choose your battles carefully
  • Journaling
  • Fight with words and argue
  • Nil by mouth/Silent treatment
  • Crying – such as in the bathroom
  • Being dramatic/throwing tantrums
  • Numbing and ignoring the issues

Next step
Now that we know what affects our self esteem and worth, what are we going to do about it? We know what triggers a low view of our worth. We appreciate how the triggers affect us and our relationships with our spouse or the person we’re dating. What are we to do? Here are practical suggestions based on our conversation today:

  • Praying to God as no detail is too small for God. He cares for us. He carries our burdens. He stores our prayers. He sees our tears. Let’s boldly approach him to meet our deepest needs.
  • Ask for wisdom from God and wise select people. Be cautious against overexposure of your family boundaries that might lead to loss of respect for your spouse.
  • Take a step back and see what you have contributed to the conflict. Take personal responsibility to own our contribution to the conflict.
  • Become self aware – detect the good and healthy behaviors based on your triggers. Don’t excuse the behavior or reinforce what is not godly just because it’s a trigger for you.
  • Manage expectations in marriage. Remember your spouse is a weak human being. Afford him grace and pray for him.
  • Address issues and don’t sweep under the rug. We realized that the 5-10th year periods is very definitive in marriage whereby some marriages fail to build the required muscle especially due to poor communication, then those issues could arise even 20 years later. 😎 Instead of numbing, ignoring and choosing to move on, trust that God who knows what we need is able and willing to help us resolve marital issues, however big or small. Hope is alive, let’s choose hope!
  • Find our identity in God not our husbands

In summing up we were affirmed with the words of 1 Timothy 4:12

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

We are the apple of God’s eye.
“I will fight your battles”, God has promised. God is calling us to a relationship with him. A vibrant relationship. God wants to be our friend.

I dedicate to you this song
Fear is a liar – Zach Williams

Note:

Waridi is a Swahili word for Rose. Waridi is a place to grow our spirits.
We have a lot to change lives as ladies of honor. Let’s take up the space God has given us. Whether single or married, we find a circle of sisters in the ladies fellowship. Better than search engines, better than social media, It’s the REAL DEAL.

Shalom.

Hope’s Advocate,

Dorcas Koome-Muthama

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