A practical marriage involves arguments, conflicts resolution and making up after the fight…
We’ve already said that lasting marriages are based upon realistic expectations. Couples who go the distance understand that they will encounter obstacles along the way. In particular, they recognize that spousal conflict is inevitable. In contrast to many people in today’s culture, they accept this as one of the basic ground rules of marriage. They realize that, in an imperfect world, it’s impossible for two unique and gender-distinct personalities to come together and connect intimately without bumping and jarring one another in some way. They embrace the concept that this bumping and jarring causes them to grow, both as individuals and as a couple. As a result, they don’t see potential conflict as a threat. When problems and disagreements arise, they don’t jump to the unwarranted conclusion that it spells the end of their relationship.
The secret to their success lies in the way they handle conflict. These couples know that the way they respond to their differences is far more important than how they resolve them. To state this in broader terms, they understand that, in marriage, it’s the process that counts. The journey is more important than the destination. On a practical level, this means finding positive ways to manage conflict. It means “fighting fair,” cultivating honesty, and knowing how to stay in love in the midst of a good argument. Couples who have mastered these arts realize that a disagreement properly negotiated can actually become a gateway to deeper intimacy. Because of this, they approach problems as a team, each partner striving to understand how the other processes conflict. They make generous allowances for one another in this regard.
As a result, they’re quick to express grace and forgiveness. Most important, they keep short accounts – that is to say, they deal with issues immediately and then leave them behind. Healthy conflicts do not bring up old grudges! They don’t let the sun go down on their anger. Try This! The next time you find yourself in a conflict with your spouse, be mindful of the words you use and don’t bring up issues from the past. Speak openly and honestly without hostility and you’ll find yourself in a much better position to resolve the conflict.
This article was published with permission from Focus on the Family Malaysia. If you liked this article and would like to go deeper, we have some helpful resources at: www.family.org.my