Keys to Resolving Conflict in a Relationship
Updated: May 3, 2018
Every couples has conflicts. There are few guarantees in marriage except maybe one. Every couple will have plenty of questions about how to weave two lives into one successfully. Here are a few scriptural based ground rules for marital conflicts:
Commit yourselves to honesty and mutual respect. At the altar we made certain vows. But have we committed ourselves, verbally and honestly in our souls, to being authentic and honest with our partners-viewing them with respect? This should start during the courtship phase. Couples need to say to each other, l want to be honest with you; and I want you to be honest with me. I can take it, and I will give it back with tact.
Lay down your deadly) weapons. There’s anger, and then there’s anger. A temper that slips out of control is sinful. So is anger expressed in profanity Anger that mean, to hurt is sin- One man bitterly told me that his father-in-law once announced, “I never did have much use for you”. He will never forget that statement. Never: That man used a deadly weapon on his son-in-law. So did the mate who cracked, “No wonder you have a brother in a mental hospital.” A mate nay later say, I forgive you, but deep down inside such words will not be forgotten. Deadly weapons crush the inner spirit that is so much a part of marriage.
Agree that the time is right. Couples should be sure that both partners sense when to talk. There are times to disagree, and there are times not to disagree. If we have the first rule down, we can be honest enough to say; “Let s talk a. little later when the children are down.” And when you say that, keep your appointment.
Frequently couples have battle flags they wave when they need to talk. A husband may become very quiet. A wife may talk rapidly on the phone to her spouse and hang up almost before he’s through. Learn to recognize these flags; don’t let them pass unheeded. After you rake a verbal swing, be ready with a solution. An elder in a church I pastored used to say, “1 won’t listen to any criticism in this church if a person doesn’t offer, along with the criticism, a suggestion on how we might correct the problem.” Not a bad idea! When you come to your mate with justified criticism, be quick with a suggested solution. Criticism hurts. A positive, supportive comment will help take some of the sting out of the wound. Remember: condemnation without hope crushes.
Watch your words and guard your tone. In brief, use tact. The louder our voices, the less our mates will hear. The uglier the words, the less we will communicate. Paul says in Ephesians 4:29, “No rotten talk should come from our mouth. Tact is the bond that undergirds a relationship of mutual respect and it does wonders when comes to removing a defensive spirit.
Don’t bring things up in public. There are at least two ways you can do this in a marriage: boldly embarrassing your spouse or using subtle sarcasm. In a church I served many years ago, a husband was having a great deal of difficulty with his strong-willed wife. As a result, he became increasingly strong-willed as well and their home turned into a powder keg.
After service one morning where I spoke about living the Christian life at home, this husband came up to me in the vestibule, which was jammed with people, he shared privately the overflow of his hurt, quietly admitting to me, “I have caused havoc in our home this week.
I confess that in my rage I swore at her the other day. I’m embarrassed to admit our home is a wreck. “Why”’ just last Tuesday I was ready to walk…” About that time his wife came up. She hadn’t heard his contrite confession? Only the last part. She said, “It’s because of your black heart that our home is a wreck!” The vestibule hushed; she sliced away at him for all to hear. He was devastated. Publicly proclaiming resentment only drives the resentment deeper.
When it’s all over, help clean up the mess. Paul again: “And be kind and com.- passionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ” (Eph. 4:32). At the heart of the word “kindness is grace. Be gracious enough to wipe it off the mental slate. At the heart of tenderness is compassion. Be compassionate enough to weep with the one who’s hurt from the fight. And | at the heart of forgiveness is the very person of Jesus Christ who forgave you.