In this Issue

<$firstname$>, hello!

Feature Article: Resolving Conflict and Dealing with Unhealthy Patterns from the Past that Plague Your Relationships Today

Suzanne Recommends:

Inspirational Women's Garden Club

  • Resolving Conflict & Unhealthy Patterns from the Past, Wed, Sept 15, 7 pm EST

Resolving Conflict and Unhealthy Patterns from the Past that Plague Your Relationships Today

Last month, you learned about conflicts and forgiveness and how the results of unresolved conflict can lead to broken relationships, unforgiveness and bitterness.

You may have grown up in a home where healthy conflict resolution was not modeled. I recently saw a program where a stepfather, wife and children were daily coming to physical blows with one another, because of their inability to resolve their conflicts in a healthy way. These are very destructive patterns and tear people and their relationships apart.

Often cycles of painful interactions are set up in relationships, and people wound one another over and over, not understanding how to break the vicious cycle they are now in. You may be experiencing a difficult relationship with your spouse, boss, children or friends. (One of the very best books I have seen on breaking destructive patterns in the marriage relationship has been written by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs called Love and Respect. Please purchase it if you realize you need additional insight and help in this area. I've made the information about it available for you in the bottom right-hand panel of this newsletter.)

Last month, you learned about bitterness as a result of failing to resolve our conflicts well. This month, we'll talk about a step-by-step process for resolving conflict in a healthy way.

  1. The first step is to evaluate the severity of the conflict. If it is minor, overlook it and give it to God.

    There are some situations that are minor offenses, and it is wise to overlook them. For instance, someone may say something that hurts our feelings or inconveniences us in some way. Proverbs 19:11 gives us guidance in this regard: " A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."

    In some situations, there are very difficult circumstances that the person is experiencing which causes them to displace their anger toward you. The common example you've heard is being angry at your boss at work and then going home and kicking your dog. Yet in this example, you are the one who is being hurt due to the other person's anger and stress.

    An important aspect of this point is to be sure you're not minimizing offenses to avoid the conflict. If you have a habit of avoiding conflicts out of fear, be careful about using this strategy for resolving conflict, as you may need to grow in courage to confront conflict.
  1. If after evaluating, you determine this is an offense you must deal with, then go to the person one-to-one.

    This is a difficult step, and many times, you're not comfortable to do this. Matthew 18:15 tells us: "If your brother [or sister] sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over."

    It's so much easier to vent to someone else about your frustration. For example, if you have a disagreement with Sally, rather than going directly to Sally to talk about it, you talk about it to Jane in your office. This lowers your anxiety by talking to Jane, yet pulls Jane into a conflict with which she has no involvement. Now the conflict is still unresolved with Sally, you feel closer to Jane, but Jane's relationship with Sally has now been negatively impacted.

  2. Proverbs 17:9 gives us great guidance here: "He (or she) who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. So we see repeating the matter is not helpful, and can cause a new conflict, such as separating those who are friends.

    But what if the conflict still remains unresolved?

  3. Depending on the severity of the offense, go back to the person with another fellow believer as a witness.

    This may seem severe, but Scripture urges us that "if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' (Matt. 18:16).

    The idea behind this is restoration - giving the person another chance to resolve the conflict. The "two or three" others can serve as witnesses in the conversation or may have helpful insights to share that will allow the injured parties to move toward reconciliation.

  4. If you're still unable to resolve the conflict, Matt. 18:17 tells us to "tell it to the church."

    This may mean enlisting the help of your pastor, or if you're in a small group, enlisting the help of your small group leader. This may need to be done if you're dealing with a severe conflict, such as marital abandonment or abuse, business dealings where there is a lack of integrity, as two examples.

  5. Lastly, recognize that the patterns of resolving conflict that you learned growing up will continue to impact you tremendously unless you learn new skills.
  6. Some of you may have grown up in very troubled homes, where parents struggled with alcohol, prescription drugs, abuse, or other difficult patterns. Realize that you learned certain coping skills growing up in such an environment. These coping skills could involve denial, avoidance, raging, flight or other unhealthy strategies.

    You may have picked up these habits or not, but you may still struggle to resolve conflict in a healthy way and maintain fulfilling relationships.

    Scripture elaborates on this for us in Exodus 20:4-6, where we learn of the impact of the parents' sin on the children.

    "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments."

    From this passage, we learn that children suffer for the sin of their ancestors, all the way back to their great grandparents, to the third and fourth generation, yet God limits this punishment because of His tremendous grace. And He tells us that He shows His love, not to three or four generations, but rather to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.

    Perhaps you've felt as you read this article that this issue doesn't apply to you. But for those of us who have struggled at times in these areas, here are some principles from God's Word to help us live victoriously and resolve our conflicts in a healthy way.

Keys to Victory along the Journey

  • Be willing to acknowledge and change our part

    Part of resolving our conflicts is recognizing our part and being willing to confess and repent of what we did wrong. There are very few conflicts in which one party is completely innocent. We may need to go back and ask forgiveness of those who hurt us for the part that we did wrong. Yet I John 1:9 promises us that if we confess our sins or failings, that He is faithful to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. What a wonderful promise - that when we confess what we know we've done wrong, God will cleanse us of everything!

  • Be willing to go to our brother or sister directly, but also gently, to restore the relationship. Avoid talking to others about your conflicts and stresses. Go directly to the person.

  • Pray and keep a positive spirit, with an eye toward restoring the relationships. As you do so, God will honor your heart and intervene in the situation on your behalf.

  • Recognize your vulnerabilities based on your past and the "sins of your fathers." Get the support you need, such as coaching, new insights, and a small group for support.

    Joy and Strength has a wonderful devotional that reminds us that it is love that compels us to resolve our conflicts with one another. I pray this passage encourages you.

  • Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Rom. 13:10).

    The worst kinds of unhappiness, as well as the greatest amount of it, come from our conduct to each other. If our conduct, therefore, were under the control of kindness, it would be nearly the opposite of what it is, and so the state of the world would almost be reversed. We are for the most part unhappy, because the world is an unkind world. But the world is only unkind for the lack of kindness in us units which compose it.
    (Frederick Wm. Faber)

    If you would like to hear more on this topic, please join us for the September "Inspirational Women's Garden Club" event on Wednesday, September 12, at 7 p.m. EST. For more information, contact Suzanne at We'd love to have you join us and bring a friend, too!

August Coaching Special

With enrollment this month in either the Women's Garden Club or the Pastors' Forum, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at I'd love to serve you.

Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.

Many prayers and blessings to you all,

Relationship Tips is a monthly e-zine written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

Suzanne Martinez
SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 9172
Reston, VA 20195-9172

Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2007.

Would you forward this e-zine to others who would benefit from it? For a complimentary subscription, they can sign up at Please help us get the word out by forwarding this issue to others. Thank you!

Relationship Tips
August 2007
Vol. I, Issue 9

Relationship Tips is published once monthly. You're on our recipients' listing because you indicated an interest in this ministry and e-zine. To manage your subscription, see the link at the end of this email.

Privacy Policy:
We promise never to rent, sell or disclose your email address.

Please add my email address - to your whitelist of address book in your email program, so you won't miss future issues!

Upcoming Garden Club Teleseminars

Interested in joining the Inspirational Women's Garden Club?

It's a monthly get-together via telephone of women to network, build relationships with one another, and to discuss the Relationship Tips monthly topic.

Our next Inspirational Women's Garden Club event is Wednesday, September 12 at 7 p.m. EST.

Our topic will be Resolving Conflict and Dealing with Unhealhy Patterns from the Past that Plague Your Relationships Today.

Upcoming Garden Club Dates:

October 8 & 10, 7 p.m. EST

If you'd like more information about the Garden Club or to enroll, please go to Inspirational Women's Garden Club. You may hear a sample audio class at FREE Gift and FREE Handout. Hope you'll join us!

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

In this four-week study guide, Suzanne leads you to simple, but powerful, tools to reverse the effects of the curse and transform your relationships in amazing ways.

As you learn and incorporate these three simple "power tools" into your relationships, you'll find you rediscover joy and fulfillment in your relationships in a new and fresh way.

Click here to order your copy!

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Would you Like to Learn More on "Developing Patience" or Celebrating the Goodness of God in your Life?

If you'd like hear recent messages on "Developing Patience" or "Celebrating the Goodness of God in Your Life" on audio CD or give copies as gifts to friends, contact Suzanne at (703) 282-2325 to order your copies. Copies will also be available in the shop very soon!

Inspiring Devotionals

Has your relationship with Christ lost its fervor? Have you gotten caught up in the stresses of life and allowed your time with the Lord to be placed on the back burner?

These two devotionals will help renew your focus on Christ, gain strength for the trials you face, and enable you to give praise to God amidst whatever difficulties you encounter.

For a sample of Joy and Strength, see the final paragraphs of "Conquering Bitterness through the Power of Forgiveness" at the left.

Shop to obtain your own copy.

Becoming a Woman of Godly Character

Our words reflect our hearts and character. In the CD, "Becoming a Woman of Godly Character," Suzanne provides answers to common questions women ask and encourages you in your walk with Christ.

She'll also teach you qualities of a godly woman and the process whereby God changes you throughout your life to make you more like Christ.

Click here to order your copy...

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Men need respect!

In so many ways, society has focused on your need for love, while ignoring your husband's tremendous need for respect. Most women don't understand how men view certain things they say and do as disrespectful.

Dr. Emerson Eggerich's groundbreaking book, Love and Respect, helps you crack that code, enabling you to communicate with your husband in ways he will hear and understand. These make great gifts, too. Order yours today at

Love and Respect

Preview of September's Issue:

In September's issue of Relationship Tips, we'll focus on "Resolving Conflict and Dealing with Unhealthy Patterns from the Past which are Plaguing Our Relationships Today."

Stay tuned for the next Relationship Tips!

About Suzanne

Suzanne France Martinez Founder & Principal

During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting.

Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.

Copyright © 2006-2007 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC.