No one is perfect. Therefore, regardless of how much two people love each other, conflict will rear its ugly head in marriage from time to time.
For instance, a husband might believe his wife is spending too much time on a social media platform. Or, a wife may experience hurt feelings when her husband makes a joke about her in public. The presence of marital confrontation isn’t what typically leads to strife, separation, and ultimately divorce. However, the way a couple approaches conflict is.
The following tips offer Biblical insight for solving the most common struggles in marriage.
Pray before a Confrontation
When a spouse feels wronged, human instinct is to immediately lash out at the other person. However, this urge isn’t either productive or Christ-like.
Before confronting a significant other regarding a perceived injustice, praying is immeasurably important. Psalm 139:23-24 states, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Proverbs 2:1-5 says, “If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
Prayer can not only enlighten someone on how to broach a contentious subject with a spouse, it can also highlight any shortcoming of his or her own he or she might be overlooking.
In marriages, spouses often vie to get the last word in. Instead of carefully and patiently listening to the other person’s concerns, partners often shout over each other. Besides escalating the conflict, shouting matches can alarm innocent children who may be nearby.
James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Proverbs 18:13 reads, “He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame.” Proverbs 1:5 says, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Only through active listening can spouses unequivocally understand each other’s concerns and address them lovingly and fairly.
Don’t Drudge Up the Past
When arguing about a specific matter, mates often revisit issues from the past that have nothing remotely to do with the present situation. In addition to not helping the current conflict, this practice might make a spouse feel like he or she will never be able to forget past mistakes, or be forgiven for them.
Proverbs 4:25-26 reads, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Proverbs 4:27a says, “Do not swerve to the right or the left.” Commit to solving a current conflict without digging up past grievances.
Avoid Going to Bed Angry
Procrastinating solving conflict has no place in a Christian marriage. When couples allow marital discord to go unsolved, they’re giving Satan a foothold to multiply it.
Ephesians 4:26-27 states, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”
Always Be Prepared to Forgive
One of the most effective ways to heal a broken marriage is through unconditional forgiveness. The Bible’s stance on forgiveness is clear. Matthew 6:14-15 reads, “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Ephesians 4:32 states, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Celebrate Your Differences
Couples bring many differences to a marriage including those related to gender, family background, personalities, and previous life experiences. Too often, married people allow these differences to lead to conflict.
Rather than try to ignore and lament their dissimilarities, couples should acknowledge and celebrate them. Bob Lepine, cohost of the daily radio broadcast FamilyLife Today, remarked, “One person has said a great marriage is not when a perfect couple comes together, but when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences. Your goal is not to change your spouse. You need to seek first to understand your spouse and then to be understood.”
Pray for marriages that are currently being tested due to unresolved conflict.
~ 1776 Christian