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Conflict Resolution In Marriage

Occasional conflict in marriage is both normal and inevitable. The important point to remember is not whether or not conflict is present in our relationship, but how we handle conflict when it arises. Consider a couple scriptures:

  • Proverbs 14:29 “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”
  • James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

While occasional conflict in relationships is normal, it can be helpful to recognize and distinguish simple disagreements from dreadful battles. Often the dreadful battles are grounded in fundamental differences that any two individuals face. These include 1) fundamental differences in your personalities that repeatedly create conflict (i.e., neatness, present versus future focused) or 2) fundamental differences in your lifestyle needs (i.e., time together versus time apart, handling of finances).

Anger is a normal emotion often present during conflict. We do well to continue to learn ways to deal with anger and hurt proactively so we do not deny it, “stuff” it, or let it turn to bitterness. It is also helpful to understand that spouses often approach conflict in different ways. Many times one of the spouses wants to talk about problems right away, while the other spouse wants time to think about it and talk later. This arrangement often leads to the pursuer-distancer cycle which can actually perpetuate conflict at times. You can learn more about effectively managing the conflict in your marriage by reviewing our full document.

For Further Information:

You Can Reduce Negative Reactions in Conflict
This brief article contains nine discussion points to help couples deepen their understanding of each other and improve listening skills.  [Focus on the Family]

How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage
Authors: Milan & Kay Yerkovich
This book seeks to show how early life experiences create an underlying blueprint that shapes your beliefs, behavior, and expectations in your marriage. The authors identify four styles or blueprints and provide principles to help you break free of negative patterns and enhance intimacy.


The DNA of Relationships
Author: Gary Smalley
This 240 page book exposes a destructive relationship dance that often is part of relationship conflict. It offers practical steps to take personal responsibility, create a safe environment to talk through conflict, and learn to listen with the heart.