Conflict is an inevitable reality of life. There is no way to avoid it in our imperfect world, and marriage offers a wonderful opportunity to learn how to manage conflict. To enjoy successful relationships we must learn to manage conflict, not avoid it. How we handle conflict may very well determine the longevity and health of our marriage relationship.
Many of us adapted very destructive ways of solving conflict as we grew up -- withdraw, belittle, criticize, attack, pout. None of these are effective ways to resolve conflict. The person may get what he/she wants for the moment, but the relationship will be sabotaged and the long-term effects are usually disastrous.
In seeking to resolve conflict:
- Use wisdom in the timing. Ask your mate if it's a good time to discuss the issue. If not, ask when would be a good time.
- Pray first for yourself, then pray together.
- Seek to understand, not simply to be right. Identify the problem. Share your feelings and allow your mate to do the same.
- Brainstorm possible solutions.
- Agree on a possible plan of action to try. Be willing to compromise. Find a solution that is agreeable with both of you.
- Work the plan and if it doesn't work, try another one.