Work it out: Five ways to resolve conflict in marriage
Recently, I asked my readers what would they like to see covered on the blog. One major topic came up several times—How to fight fair in marriage?
So, I started to spend some time truly reflecting on what does “fighting fair” look like in my marriage. Is this a topic I could even address? Because, my husband and I don’t really “fight”, not in the traditional sense. In our 14 years of marriage, we have never yelled at each other, called each other names, or said things with the intention to hurt the other person.
But we have had conflict.
Conflict that resulted from hurt feelings, unmet expectations, pride, lack of communication, and unresolved issues from childhood (more my issue than his).
To be honest, these conflicts challenged every fiber of my being and fed my fear. Deep inside I was afraid of conflict. Afraid that our marriage would somehow be devoured by our conflicts with only heartache left behind. So God had to show ME how to walk through conflict.
This walk started while my husband and I were dating/engaged. During those two years, we discussed how we would handle disagreements (intense fellowship—watch the video). Yet, it wasn’t until we were husband and wife that I realized just how much God would need to work out more unresolved issues and brokenness in ME.
After a few days, I talked with my hubby and I prayed about what could I add to this topic that would be encouraging and point others back to God. This is where this video where I started with this video. I started by simply talking about just five of our ways to resolve conflict in marriage. Take a look at the video below (feel free to watch it with your spouse so you can discuss the questions below):
Now that you have watched the video, here are some reflection questions for you (and your spouse) to consider.
- How do you and your spouse respond to conflict?
- What is your attitude toward conflict?
- What did you learn?
- What are the boundaries in our marriage?
- Do you press pause when you experience conflict? Why or why not?
- What can you implement in your marriage today?
- What can you start to help you resolve conflict?
- What do you need to stop in order to help you resolve conflict in a healthy way?
I want to hear from you. Any strategies you would add to this list? Any you already do? Any you plan to start? I look forward to your comments!
This has been a difficult hallenge for my husband and I. It has taken a long time for us to get to a point where we “fight fair”. Unfortunately, we both came from childhoods where we saw very ugly words were thrown around. We learned together and are better for it.
Mamie L. Packnmgilb
I can totally relate. It was a struggle for me in those beginning years. Going to God and always remembering that I choose us helped me to learn how to do this better. Hope it encourages you and you found something helpful to use in your marriage.
With Love From P
Loved this. Sometimes if can be hard finding that middle ground. This was a great read x
I love the “intense fellowship” – coined! The “me” issue is so on point too <3
Mamie L. PackNicole
Yes!!! Intense fellowship is my thing 😉
Fighting Fair has definitely been tough for me as a newlywed. This blog provides such great wise counsel! Thank you!
Mamie L. PackGeraldine Pinckney
Awww thanks! That’s why “I choose us” is such a reminder for me. I choose not to get caught up in fighting against instead I fight for.
Luckily, my husband and I don’t have a ton of conflict. We drive each other nuts sometimes. But we have both been pretty good so far about not letting it explode into a bigger fight. When we do, we tend to air our grievances, in angry tones, then go our separate ways for a bit, let cooler heads prevail, and talk it out.
Mamie L. Packlisajakesmomma
Yes! We do that as well. Talking along the way prevents big explosions later.
very good read love! My husband and I hardly fight either. I think it is because we both feel comfortable expressing our feelings towards one another. Knowing that it wont’ get “used against” one another, being vulnerable. We are also huge on self reflecting and understanding how we may have played a part in how the other feels. We never leave a conversation without a resolution! Something we live by!
Mamie L. Packsirena Alise
I am a big supporter of reflective practice personally and as a couple. Makes such a difference.
We like to blow steam off, then come back and talk about the problem at hand. Most of the time it’s stupid things
Mamie L. Packitsahotmess04
Taking time to pause before speaking prevents a lot.
One time my husband was being silly and I was NOT in the mood for his goofiness! I was mad, very mad. I was about ready to call our pastor for some marriage counseling. Then I realized just how funny it would be to complain about how my husband’s lightheartedness was making me mad. Somehow I envisioned the counseling session and it struck a chord in my that I started to laugh. My husband knew he was not being THAT funny and he was wondering what was making me laugh. I could not explain it but I am so thankful to God that instead of lashing out in anger at that point, He made me laugh instead.
Mamie L. PackMary Jane
God is so good like that. If we just press pause, our entire attitudes can shift.
I love this! I can TOTALLY relate to how you were uncomfortable with disagreements at first. I’ve found that over time if I think about what I’m thinking and deliver it correctly, the disagreements are healthier. Thanks for this post!
Mamie L. PackSydney Meek
It does take time and wisdom to know how to use our words in intense fellowship 😉
My husband and I were high school sweetheart. We were babies and had to learn how to communicate and discuss things kindly. 🙂 I love this article!
Mamie L. PackCharley
Yes. Some of use learn in the trenches, but thank goodness for grace and learning the lesson.
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This is really beautiful!!! I am going to print it out and leave on the fridge as a reminder. Thank you
Mamie L. Packsuburbangoddessmom
Oh, thank you! I love reading you are going to print it out. Cheering you on!
Great post. My husband and I have been married for almost 17 years. We are both passionate, can be loud and strong willed. A few years ago after going through our 5th deployment we really talked and focused on being intentional with our communication. Even when things are hard we really try to focus on talking. Sometimes we may have to take a few minutes alone to get our thoughts together but then we talk it out.
Mamie L. PackAmanda Powell
Amanda those deployments are no joke! Each one has actually helped me to be a better wife because I learned to see what was really important and appreciate the little things. Taking time to pause is an excellent strategy for resolving conflict.
Lorena y Lennox
Mamie, I love this post, and all your posts. You have so much wisdom to offer <3
My husband and I don’t have serious conflict very often, and when we do we take an hour – cool down, and then share how each other felt in the moment without interrupting, and then suddenly we have that common ground to discuss and resolve the situation.
Argh! When I get mad I get super mad and depending on his reaction I can stay mad!! It is not ideal, I know. He hates conflict and I actually don’t mind it so if I try to work it out he avoids it. We need to try a little harder.
Mamie L. PackHarassedmom (@laurakim123)
It’s interesting how we can have completely different ways of managing conflict. Marriage is a continual growing process for sure. Sometimes I want to talk about things right when it happens, but in hindsight it’s best I don’t. Once I cool down, I am able to see if this was even an issue at all.
This is wonderful especially your marriage truths list. Thanks for sharing!
Mamie L. PackNicole Hood
Thanks so much for stopping by Nicole!
These are great advices thank you. Communication is always key in any relationship.
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I love working with couples in my therapy practice and its all so individualized! Looking at the main sources of conflict and the root and making individualized plans to work through it is important.
Mamie L. PackErin
That is awesome Erin!
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Jen @ Jen Bradley | MOMS
I think it is profound that every one of your statements begins with “I Choose”! We are absolutely in control of how we personally respond to conflict, but sometimes that can be easy to forget.
Parent On Board
Great ways to deal with discourse in marriage. It can definitely be tough to resolve conflicts in a positive and constructive way. But you’re right that we choose our response. We’re in control of that, not of the other person.
These are great suggestions,,,I also think that both of you need to be on the same page and putting the same amount of effort in.
It is so important to CHOOSE. We can go either way. I find that I sometimes choose the less helpful, more antagonistic way and pretend it isn’t a choice. But everything we say and do is. So why not choose connection? It sometimes is difficult, but I am certainly working on it. This is a great reminder to do so, not just with our spouses, but with all those we have important relationships with.
these are great suggestions, very thoughtful and perfect for a marriage. it takes two people to work out a conflict.
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