Handling Conflicts in Marriage
Handling Conflicts in Your Marriage
Marriage Keepers use the following guidelines to prevent conflicts in their marriage:
You need to set aside regularly scheduled meetings so you can keep your spouse the priority, talk about the positive things in your marriage, and remember the purpose for your marriage:
- Priority: It is the time you put one another first. You want to give one another your undivided attention. Put up the cell phones, and turn off the television. You want to communicate how you’re doing personally so you can continue to remain open and exposed to one another. You will continue to grow as one person because you’re sharing your thoughts and feelings with one another.
- Positive: It is the time to give positive feedback about your marriage. Positive feedback encourages your spouse to know they are doing something right that pleases you. It also makes hearing the negative things about your marriage much easier. Remember the rule of negative words: it takes ten positive words to overcome one negative.
- Purpose: It is the time to celebrate your marriage. God put you together for companionship and friendship. Enjoy one another playfully and sexually. Use this time to break the monotony and enrich your relationship. Your meeting time can become a date night, renewing your vows together, or any other creative idea you may think about to celebrate your marriage. Just make sure you’re meeting regularly so you can be inspirational and motivational about your marriage.
Sometimes you can’t avoid a conflict in your marriage and you have become frustrated. You do not want your frustrations to turn into a “shout it out” instead of a “talk it out” time. Therefore, before shouting begins, set up a meeting to talk about your frustrations with the marriage. This is a time when you feel like you can share exactly how you feel, and not be threatened that your opinions or emotions will not be respected.
Always have solutions when you are critiquing the behavior of your spouse. If you’re unable to solve the problem “table” it and talk about it at the next meeting. Do not discuss it until your next scheduled meeting time (if possible); this is called “containing” problems in the marriage. Warning: You don’t want to turn your regular scheduled meeting times for priority, positivity, and purpose into conflict time. You may want to set another time for conflicts so you will always have a regular time that you just encourage one another.
Use the principles taken from Psalms 139:23 to help you prepare to handle a conflict in your marriage:
Psalms 139:23. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me, and know my anxieties; 24. And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.
- Search me – Ask God to search you to know your motives
- Show me – Ask God to reveal your areas of being wrong
- Share with me – Ask God to give you solutions to resolve the issue
First, ask God to search for any wrong in your heart. You may not be wrong in principle but you may be wrong in the way you’re handling the problem. Then ask God to give you the wisdom, understanding and knowledge how to discuss the issue correctly in order to find solutions and bring growth to the relationship.
Here is how you prepare to meet your spouse to discuss a conflict:
- Know exactly what is bothering you
- Examine why it bothers you
- Write down solutions to solve the problem
- Inform your spouse you want to talk about your problem
- Allow them time to review the problem
- Set a meeting time
- Follow the rules for conflict resolution at the meeting
Rules for Resolution
Conflicts in marriage should be handled through ground rules of engagement. Here are the ground rules for you to follow when you’re resolving a conflict in your marriage:
Rule I – Be Spiritual: Start the meeting with prayer, and yield to the character of the Holy Spirit that will help you to manifest His patience and self-control as you go through the process of solving the issue in your marriage. If you’re not a Christian, commit to keep yourself under control during the communication until the issue is resolved.
Rule II – Be Scriptural: Use the Scriptures as your source and guidelines to solve your problem. If you’re not a Christian, study books on marriage that pertain to your issue that will help guide you in your resolution. This will bring a third party into the conflict to help keep you both from being so opinionated that you can’t see the other person’s point of view.
Rule III – Be Selfless: When both parties are selfless, willing to prefer the interests of their spouse before their own, the solution to the conflict will become much easier. Make this statement part of the culture of your marriage to help you have a selfless relationship: “How can I help you?” When both parties are interested in helping one another then you will be able solve any conflict that may arise in your marriage.
Rule IV – Be Specific: Solve one issue at a time. Do not bring up other issues that have nothing to do with the current discussion.
Rule V – Be Salt: Let your words be with grace seasoned with salt. (Colossians 4:6) Communicate words that are flavored to make them easier to receive. You use principles of effective communication and suspend criticisms that would escalate the conflict. Do not start sentences with “you” but with “I” to season your words. Using profane language or name calling has NEVER helped resolve problems in marriage. They usually cause irreparable damages to the marriage relationship.
Rule VI – Be Sure: Pursue clarity before you respond. Here is how you use the principles of effective communication to receive clarity in communication:
- Repeat to them what you hear them saying
- Tell them how you receive what they are saying
- Ask them is this what they mean by what they’re saying
This rule ensures your spouse that you are listening to them and not prejudging what you think you know about the person or the issue. This will help you be open to hear something new about what they are saying to help you see their point of view of the issue you are discussing to bring resolution.
Rule VII – Be a Solver: Share solutions to the problem and do not criticize one another. It may take more than one meeting, therefore, you should be patient with one another through the process of reconciliation. Most conflicts are solved because of a selfless act of forgiveness or change of behavior by an individual.
Once both spouses have decided on a solution – move on and do not bring it up again just like God does for you. This means when you see one another there should not be any animosity arising in your heart or comments that references the offense. Your goal in conflict resolution is not only to resolve the conflict but to make sure the relationship is restored and you’re able to go forward stronger than before.
Be determined to resolve the issue and don’t be a quitter. If you’re unable to resolve a conflict and it becomes a major disagreement in your marriage, seek to solve your issue through pastoral or professional counseling. If you use counseling, then you must empower the counselor to become the final arbitrator, and you will need to obey their counsel in order to resolve the conflict in your marriage.