Marital Conflict Resolution: Part 2
Paul J. Bucknell
Why do couples fight and argue? Why can\u2019t they just enjoy lasting peace? Didn\u2019t they get
married to have a greater life together than when
She was hesitant. I asked her the typical, \u201cWhy?\u201d and she answered her typical, \u201cI don\u2019t
know why.\u201d I could have gone right on and mentioned that because she did not know
what the problem was, there was no real problem to doing what I thought was good. I
knew I was right so I could go on and apply. But we have learned a lot over the years.
There are three basic steps to solving these differences: disagree, discuss and decide.
When we find that we disagree about something, we slow way down. We put off
decisions and start praying. I begin questioning her more carefully at different times as to
why she thinks a certain way. Sometimes she is clearer than at other times. That is fine. I
value her input.
In fact I am so convinced that God will at times speak to me through her, that I become
reluctant to go on as long as she feels hesitant. If we both desire God\u2019s will, then God
should speak to both of us. I don\u2019t just use my authority as a husband to make decisions.
God has appointed her as my helpmate. She is more in tune with God and God\u2019s ways
than I am at times. This becomes an opportunity to learn more about God, His ways and
each other. I resist the tendency to rely on my pride and rather get excited about what
God might be saying through my wife.
This difference that we had here had all the indications for a good argument. I took one
step to doing something that she didn\u2019t feel comfortable about. (I thought I had
communicated clearly about the matter). I could have stuck firm with my path, and she
could have resisted. Instead we focused on God\u2019s will and have been praying about and
discussing the issue together. As of this writing the issue is a bit clearer but not yet
A) The Problem-solving Process
B) Resolving Crises (Joshua)
C) Study questions
Since our last session, I have been carefully observing our relationship as we encounter
personal differences. We had four differences: over insurance, schooling and discipline of
children (2). Sounds normal, doesn\u2019t it? In each case we had significant disagreement.
Maybe one person was agitated at times. And yet we didn\u2019t argue.
In our last session we showed the general approach to resolving major marital quarrels. If
we would first try to handle the individual conflicts or \u2018battles,\u2019 then our solutions are
superficial. Couples need a new approach to marriage. They need to see that they are on
the same team and therefore resolve to:
The typical married couple has given far too much room for the evil one to bring harm to their marriage. We don\u2019t need to do this. If we find ourselves fighting with our spouses, we should note a willingness in our hearts to battle and repent from it. Conflict reveals a heart impurity. The spouses must be convinced that when they beat their spouse that both of them have lost. As a married couple we are a team, and we aim to make that team a success!
Once we have this basic commitment to our spouse, we can then take a deeper look at the
conflicts couples face. Perhaps a good illustration of this is when a truce is made. Each
side can stop fighting. But in the old days of poor communication, sometimes battles
went on for days before knowing the war was called off! Hasn\u2019t the war been called off in
our marriage? Do we still need to have conflicts if peace is made? No. Do we still have
them? Yes, we can and do, but they are no longer necessary. There is a better way of
handling differing opinions.
We need a real clear way to resolve these varying opinions or the enemy will use them to
make us think that we are at war with each other, which in turn will result in setting up
opposing sides. Difference of opinions is not wrong, but if we are not careful, they
(1) What is normally called emotional problems are more than often sourced in spiritual
problems. Our emotions are closely intertwined with our spiritual natures. If we do not
handle an offense properly, then we will be angry. We can easily bring that anger home
and get irritated with our spouse.
(2) Every argument requires two sides. Even if one spouse is upset, it does not mean that there needs to be a battle. The other spouse needs to intercede on the behalf of the needy spouse.
(3) Every spiritual problem that we do not properly resolve will infect our marriage. The husband and wife live too closely together not to be affected by personal sin. Sin reveals itself in our marriage.
(5) We need to stay ministry-oriented. The Spirit of God wants us to minister through us to others including our spouse. Even though our spouse might be impatient, we need to care for them and minister Christ\u2019s love through great patience.
(6) In a good way, both the husband and wife should check their attitudes and lives
before encountering each other. Ask yourself, \u201cAm I in the state where God can minister
His love and grace through my life to my spouse.\u201d If not, ask Him to ready you.
(7) Lastly, we should remember, that the disagreement we speak of is not necessarily a
verbal disagreement. A difference in approach toward a situation or expectation of
another can also bring about the same volatile situation. If a husband leaves a dirty sock
hanging around, it just might be enough to set a couple against each other. The husband
sees no big deal. The wife is convinced the sock should not be there. In such cases there
are problems behind the \u2018starter\u2019 problem.
People will always have difference of opinions and approaches. This is true with couples
too. What we do with these dissimilar viewpoints is what will characterize our lives and
marriages. Great marriages are those that have learned how to utilize these differences so
that they as a couple can grow. Poor marriages, however, mishandle these differing
perspectives and bring further trouble into their relationships.
we can see that these crises also serve as opportunities to draw closer to God and closer
to our spouse. Many couples insist that crises must lead to conflict. This simply is not
true. Even they, no doubt, do not argue about everything they disagree with. We believe
God has given each of us a door of opportunity in which we can refuse to step into
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