How well do you and your spouse handle conflict?
While conflict isn’t usually fun, it is an inevitable part of relationships because all relationships are comprised of sinners. We don’t always see eye to eye. We hurt each other. We misunderstand each other. We say the wrong thing. We react in our anger. We’re selfish. We sin against one another.
But is all conflict necessarily bad?
I’m learning to think that it isn’t. Relational conflict teaches us to forgive one another. They can help make us humble and learn how to ask for forgiveness. They give us the opportunity to treat one another the way we want to be treated.
I heard author Michael Hyatt say on his podcast, “Intimacy is just on the other side of conflict.”
I love that idea and have found it to be true in recent years. The more we practice resolving our conflicts, the better we can get at it. James 1:2-5 NIV says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
God grows and matures us through our trials and conflicts.
I used to be a stuffer, never wanting to bring something up for the fear of causing a fight or hurting someone’s feelings. But when an issue inevitably came up, I’d sweep it under the rug and pretend it wasn’t there. What really happened, though, was that seeds of bitterness would be planted, and I would start distancing myself from that person. Sadly, I lost a few friends that way.
When we’re in conflict with our spouse (or anyone for that matter), one of the best methods we can use is a team approach. Remember that you’re on the same team and are hoping to win at your relationship together.
When you need to address an issue, don’t attack your teammate. Remember that you’re not each other’s enemies. Instead of blaming or pointing the finger, ask your spouse to join you in finding a solution to the problem. Listen to each other and work together on finding common ground.
Using a team approach can help you work through your problem effectively and help you get to a deeper level of intimacy than before. Conflict resolution isn’t easy, but the end result of respectful and constructive teamwork is worth it.