Conflict. Conflict is a part of marriage. Conflict is natural and will happen. Couples that think they will never argue are in for great disappointment. What is more important that whether we have conflict or not is how we resolve conflict when it arises. Below are six (6) steps that help married couples move toward resolution:
- Respect the Right to Disagree: You and your spouse are different people. You have different thoughts, backgrounds, and perspective. These differences lead to disagreements. Accepting that you have the right to disagree with each other goes a long way to help eleviate feeling threatened or the need to struggle for power in a relationship.
- Identify the Problem: Do not argue over teh symptoms, identify the reall issue(s). Before you bring a disagreement or contention to the attention of your spouse ask yourself, “Why do this bother me?” Then think about what you would like your spouse to do about it. Be as specific as possible with your thoughts.
- Share Feelings (Emotions): Conflict involves more than logic and reasoning. Emotions are a part of conflict. Try to state your emotions as your own, try no to place them on the other person. Instead of saying, “You are lazy and selfish! I work all day and then you sit on the couch watching TV while I have to cook and then clean-up the kitchen. You do not care about how tired I am.” Restate it in a way similar to this, “I am so tired and worn out at the end of the day. I would appreciate it if you could help me in the kitchen, so that we can relax together on the couch when after we eat and the kitchen is clean.”
- Seek Solutions: The Beatles sang, “We can work it out.” Couples that look for solutions and believe they can find solutions ultimately do “work it out.”
- Timing is Everything: Choose the best moment to talk out your conflict. More often than not that moment is NOT in the heat of the moment. More than likely, the time to talk is when you both have had time to settle down and both make the time necessary to talk and listen. Remember the advise of Paul in Eph 4:26 and do not let anger fester overnight.
- Consider Using the Jesus’ Method of Conflict Resolution: Look to Matthew 5:23-24 and Matthew 18:15. Jesus teaches whether we are wronged or are in the wrong, it is our responsiblility to seek resolution.