Marriage Relationships Stories

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!

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34 comments on “Work it out: Five ways to resolve conflict in marriage

  1. 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. Pack

      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.

  2. Loved this. Sometimes if can be hard finding that middle ground. This was a great read x

  3. I love the “intense fellowship” – coined! The “me” issue is so on point too <3

  4. Geraldine Pinckney

    Fighting Fair has definitely been tough for me as a newlywed. This blog provides such great wise counsel! Thank you!

    • Mamie L. Pack

      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.

  5. lisajakesmomma

    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. Pack

      Yes! We do that as well. Talking along the way prevents big explosions later.

  6. 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. Pack

      I am a big supporter of reflective practice personally and as a couple. Makes such a difference.

  7. 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. Pack

      Taking time to pause before speaking prevents a lot.

  8. 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. Pack

      God is so good like that. If we just press pause, our entire attitudes can shift.

  9. 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. Pack

      It does take time and wisdom to know how to use our words in intense fellowship 😉

  10. 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. Pack

      Yes. Some of use learn in the trenches, but thank goodness for grace and learning the lesson.

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  12. This is really beautiful!!! I am going to print it out and leave on the fridge as a reminder. Thank you

    • Mamie L. Pack

      Oh, thank you! I love reading you are going to print it out. Cheering you on!

  13. Amanda Powell

    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. Pack

      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.

  14. Mamie, I love this post, and all your posts. You have so much wisdom to offer <3

  15. 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.

  16. 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. Pack

      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.

  17. This is wonderful especially your marriage truths list. Thanks for sharing!

  18. melisvida

    These are great advices thank you. Communication is always key in any relationship.

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  20. 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.

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