Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is a natural part of life, therefore it is also a natural part of married life. It's not a pleasant part of life by any means but it is something you are going to have to deal with. You are two people with two ideas, two opinions, two backgrounds, two ways of doing things and so on. So when you come to a situation that you both want to handle differently it's very natural to have conflict over it.

It's important to remember that conflict is simply two opposing sides. That's all. You and your spouse have come to a situation and are both seeing it differently, or you both want to handle it differently. But so often conflict turns to fighting and that's where the problem is. Not every conflict has to turn into a fight.

Here are ten things to remember when you and your spouse are in the middle of a conflict.

1. Realize that every marriage has conflict.
You and your spouse are not abnormal and there's nothing wrong with your marriage simply because you are having conflict.

2. Understand that the goal in any conflict is resolution.
Compromise is such a huge part of marriage and something that can be very difficult to work on but it's so important. If you can come into every conflict with the goal of resolving it as quickly as possible, even if it means giving up something on your side of things, it will help you keep your conflicts from turning into fights.

3. Learn the difference between principle and preference.
There are some things that you will have conflicts over that are just silly. If you prefer the bathroom toilet paper faced up and your spouse prefers it faced down...that's not a conflict you should have. But if you believe in tithing and your spouse doesn't, that is a conflict worth having. Learn to tell when something is simply your preference, and when it is, work to just let some things go.

4. Take the time to consider your spouses perspective.
So often we would go a long way by simply putting ourselves in someone else's shoes, and that goes for your spouse. Consider how they feel about things and try to see where they're coming from. If it's something they feel very strongly about, see if it's an area you can give on.

5. Never allow yourself to speak with anger during a conflict.
The second you do that you have taken it from a conflict to a fight. Fights do nothing to help your marriage and you will both walk away hurt and with a much bigger problem.

6.Avoid past failures as ammunition for current conflict.
It's so easy to bring up the past in a marriage but it does nothing to help. If it is an issue that has already been dealt with, just leave it in the past. If it's an issue you have yet to deal with, find another time to talk about it. Bringing up more irrelevant issues do nothing to resolve conflicts.

7. If needed, seek Godly counsel.
My husband and I have gone to marriage counseling before and it is always a huge help. Sometimes there are big issues to resolve and you do need the help of an outside third party. There is nothing wrong or weak about that! But I will advise you to choose an unbiased person. Under no circumstances should you go to a close friend or family member to help resolve a conflict. Ever. There is absolutely no reason to involve either of your parents in a disagreement you are having, you need a person that can tell either of you when and what you may be doing wrong. Chances are your friends or family members are simply to biased to do that. Also, one of the worst things you can do in the middle of a conflict is go out and talk to everyone about it, simply find a good christian counselor if needed and keep everyone else out of the situation.

8. Your spouse doesn't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Be sure to go out of your way to show your spouse you care about them, their feelings and their side of things. If you don't do this you will not get very far at all in resolving the issue.

9. If you think you are the perfect husband/wife you are unapproachable.
You need to understand that you may be in the wrong, you are human and therefore not above being wrong. If you come into the situation proud and sure that you are right you close the door to open communication and conflict resolution.

10. Understand that all marriage problems are of the flesh and the flesh hates God!
Everything in this world is against your marriage succeeding. Satan hates marriage because it is so close to God's heart and therefore does everything he can to destroy it. But sometimes I think we help him out a little too much by embracing all the conflicts, fights and drama that comes our way. Work hard to understand where conflict comes from and always look to the One that can help you solve it.


Me said...

Amen on all of these! I was going to say especially on #so and so, but I would have to list 1-10.

Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace said...

These are great tips for conflict resolution!

One of the things that has helped my husband and me is to remember that on our wedding day we committed ourselves to one another - for life. Mark is committed to being FOR ME! It helps me to remember that when we're battling the fleshly desires. It has saved us from a lot of "fights" when I don't allow myself to be so easily offended by our differences.

Thanks for this list. Very helpful!

Holly said...

Everytime there is some kind of conflict, I am quick to remember 1 Corinthians 13. It really helps to keep you in check!