“And they lived happily ever after.” Sleeping Beauty
As the storybook closed and Aurora danced off with Prince Phillip, I dreamed of one day dancing off my prince. I never thought I’d need to learn to resolve conflict in marriage. True love means happily ever after. Because while fairies may argue, couples did not.
I don’t remember a single argument with Tim when we dated. We seemed to agree on everything. But it wasn’t that long into our marriage when reality hit.
Faces reddened. Words spewed. Voices escalated.
I cried into my pillow after that first fight and wondered how we would ever make it.
Conflict: fail to be in agreement or accord.
Conflict in marriage is inevitable. Two people with their own individual strengths, weaknesses, and abilities are bound to fail to agree sometimes. And when those two people are as opposite as Tim and me, the disagreements will come more often.
‘”and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Mark 10:8 HCSB
It is in the becoming one flesh where conflict occurs. But Jesus warns “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:25 HCSB).
Even though conflict in marriage is inevitable, fighting is not. These 5 ways to resolve conflict peacefully will help you disagree without speaking words you’ll regret. At least that’s the promise I’m holding onto. Managing conflict is by no means a strength of ours, but we’ve come a long way.
5 Ways to Resolve Conflict Peacefully:
1. Pray before addressing the disagreement. Even a quick prayer of “Lord, help me” has made all the difference.
“Be wary of trying to talk it out with your spouse before you’ve prayed it out with your God.” Gary Thomas, A Lifelong Love: How to Have Lasting Intimacy, Friendship, and Purpose in Your Marriage
2. Wait for the right time. Timing can make a huge difference in how my husband receives the words. I try to wait for shoulder-to-shoulder time if I can (walking together or riding in the car).
3. Listen fully without planning your reply. This is one of the hardest for me. But remembering how important it is for me to feel heard helps me walk this out.
4. Be willing to start over. Every once in a while Tim and I do a reset on a conversation that’s headed off course. Simple ask if you can start the discussion over.
5. Prepare your heart for him not to see it your way. That’s why starting with prayer is so important. But we can continue to pray for God to soften his heart and open his eyes and for Him to work in our lives.
Friend, my prayer is these tips will help us resolve the conflicts that occur in the becoming. So we can love our husbands well, remembering how much God loves them too.