Marriage – Conflict Resolution
All happily married couples have arguments. Its how they resolve them while remaining respectful that strengthens their relationship.
One way to resolve serious conflicts is to take a time out before it escalates. Do you feel your angry rising? Are you emotionally closed off to your spouse? Do you feel like screaming?
- Then request a time out. Mention to your spouse that you’re just too angry to talk right now. Ask for some time to settle down. Suggest a time when you’ll be ready to talk.
- Relax and calm down. Don’t use this time to rationalize your point of view. Go for a walk or watch some television. Get your mind off of the argument.
- Ephesians 4:26 says to not let the sun go down on your angry. This doesn’t mean that you have to solve your problem that night (especially if the argument starts at 11PM). It means to give it a day and then revisit it when your calmer.
- Remember what’s important. Tell your spouse what’s really bothering you. Remember, they can’t read your mind.
- Resume the conversation when both of you can listen to each other respectfully. You can usually work things out without disrespecting or saying hurtful things to each other. You should never use disparaging statements such as “you never does this” or “you always do this”.
- Brainstorm a possible solution to the problem. Set up another meeting to discuss any progress.
Watch Mark Gungor’s video on forgiveness at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CB_hSrfsSo&t=4s
5 steps to granting forgiveness to your spouse:
- Give up your right to “get even”.
- Let go of blame, resentment and negativity toward your spouse. Don’t let a root of bitterness grow in you (Hebrews 12:15).
- Realize that you may not feel like forgiving your spouse. Run your life on what you know is right to do even if you don’t feel like it. Act on it anyway. Eventually your feelings will come into line.
- When you feel like you don’t forgive your spouse (the devil likes to remind us of this), remind yourself that you already did. It may take awhile but eventually your feelings will come into line with your will.
- Don’t bring it up again ever.
5 Steps to seeking forgiveness of your spouse:
- Admit what you did was hurtful.
- Try to understand the pain you caused your spouse.
- Apologize and ask for forgiveness.
- Forgive yourself whether you feel like it or not. Run your life on what you know is right to do even if you don’t feel like it. Act on it anyway. Eventually your feelings will come into line.
- Remember not to run your life on your feelings.
Forgiveness may be for the other person also but it is primarily for you (Hebrews 12:15 & Ephesians 4:29-32).
Ask yourself and your spouse these questions:
- How was conflict handled in your family of origin?
- Does this have an effect on how you handle conflict today?
- When you have a disagreement, how do you respond to your spouse’s concerns?
- How does anger impact your ability to share thoughts and feelings productively?
- What things trigger your anger?
- How can you respond in a redemptive way that won’t hurt your spouse but are staying true to your concerns?
- Do you realize when you need a time out?
- What do you do to let your spouse know that you understand their perspective and that you care about them?
- Are you willing to “pick your battles”, realizing that you’re not going to win every disagreement?
- When conflict arises, do you avoid using hurtful language with your spouse?
- How does anger, withdrawal and defensiveness affect your ability to resolve issues respectfully? What can you do to counteract these reactions?
- Does your body language show respect or disrespect to your spouse?
- Do you give in too easily to avoid an argument?