Working at Resolving Conflict in Marriage?
Resolving conflict in marriage can be a difficult task. But, it should be noted that all conflict is not bad. If handled properly, conflict can move couples to a greater level of closeness and intimacy.
The Tricky Part of Marriage
The tricky part of marriage is having the wisdom to act enough like adults so that both feel safe enough to act like little children together playing on what I call a playground of vulnerability. In order to accomplish this, I have found it essential to encourage couples to set up what I call a safety fence in their relationship. Without a safety fence as such, it will be difficult for couples to excel in the area of resolving conflict in marriage.
Many seem to view the word conflict as if it is a curse word or something to be associated with yelling, screaming, and hurt feelings. If this is your perception of the word, then some rethinking may be required.
What did You Experience Growing Up?
Many are from homes where if there was a disagreement then unhealthy conflict was the order, or should I say, the disorder of the day. Disagreements equaled hurt feelings. Not seeing eye to eye meant that someone may finally get there way, but only at another’s expense. One may win, but only after someone else would suffer a loss.
It seems that for many conflict has seldom served as a bridge to a deeper intimacy with others, but rather a cliff over which their relationships have tragically fallen.
Like a knife, conflict can be used for our betterment or our detriment. We can take hold of it by the blade or by the handle.
My wife and I are not close today because everything has been perfect. We have unity because the heat of conflict has melted our hearts together in almost an inseparable union that was not present the first few years of marriage.
Conflict can be a Healthy Part of a Relationship
Conflict is not a dirty word. Even the scriptures bear this out:
“He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” – Proverb 28:23
“Open rebuke is better than secret love.” (Proverbs 27:5)
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” (Matthew 18:15)
As you can see, the scriptures are showing us that good can arise from conflict. However, it must be noted that unless couples stay in what I call a safety fence, they will see but few blessings flowing from it. In reality, they will waste away those opportunities to walk over the bridge of conflict that leads to a more intimate fellowship with one another. Instead, they will find themselves falling once again off the edge of the cliff of unhealthy conflict all the while blaming each other for the tragic fall.
A Great Marriage
A great marriage is not a marriage that is devoid of conflict. In a great marriage, couples learn how to properly handle conflict.
Our 2-step process to resolving conflict in marriage helps couples to establish a safety fence based upon Biblical principles. The planks that make up this safety fence are covered in our new book on marriage as well as our audio series.