Stop the Fights-Resolving Conflict Between Couple
‘I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride’. That sentence is the one we all hold our breaths for at every wedding ceremony. The couple usually would break out in smiles as the guy proudly kisses his new bride. Fast forward …………three years later, the same people are in divorce courts for irreconcilable differences. What went wrong? Why were they unable to hold it together? Was the love not real? Does love die? They were simply unable to manage their differences.
That couples will have differences is not in doubt. Disagreement between spouses is inevitable. However, the way we manage them is crucial. We don’t want our disagreements to end up in violence or what I call a state of anarchy, where everything falls apart and cannot hold together. People assume that they can always run to the divorce courts, but the conflict does not end with divorce. What of all the post-divorce issues that still need to be managed. Alimony, child care, etc. The conflict just never ends. Doesn’t it make sense for us to try to resolve issues rather than allow it all to degenerate to the point we cannot stand each other.
This write up is to help you manage the way you fight with your husband or wife, or even your fiance or boyfriend, as the case may be.
To begin with, remember that you are two individuals who were brought together at point in time by God. You grew up under very different circumstances and have to learn to be together. It does not happen automatically. The adaptation process takes time. Beyond dating, marriage comes with more unavoidable responsibility and that leaves room for more disagreement. Before marriage the man does not have to pay bills, the woman does not have to make meals. These are adjustments that are taken for granted, but the individuals have a difficult time making them.
Another thing you must never forget as people of faith is that you have an enemy who does not want this relationship to work. He is the brain behind all the disagreement. You are not each other’s enemy, he is enemy to both of you. There is a dividing line, two of you on one side and he on the other. However he always deceives you and makes it look like you are on one side of the dividing line.
The good thing about disagreement and conflict is that it simply tells us that there is still the desire to be together. Couples that are totally conflict free have given up on each other. I think that scenario is even worse than divorce.
So to put disagreement in perspective, it is simply a medium to get two of you on the same page, and put the flexed muscles away. You disagree to agree. Neither of you needs to win, you need to come out with a position that enables you both to win. What people would call the win-win position.
What are the touchy points of disagreement between couples? Money is a major one. I would like to dwell on that one a bit. Marriage is of God, and He says according to His word that the two will become one flesh. In God’s eyes, you and your wife are one entity. He does not see you as two-in-one, but as one. It is amazing that many couples see themselves as one in many ways but when it comes to money, they separate themselves. I must tell you that as long as there is something for which you don’t want you spiritual union to cover, it will ultimately be the point of conflict. It will be the place where the enemy continues to exercise his wickedness until he separates you. Don’t allow money to be that thing. It is not difficult. Start the discussion about money before you get married. If you are already married, start now. If things have already gone wrong, have the heart to discuss it.
What are the important issues, first trust. You must trust. You must believe in each other enough to have this discussion. You must believe in your relationship enough to discuss your finances. Who brings in the money? Where do you put it? What do you spend it on? How do you agree on what to spend it on? If you can agree on these, it will make a huge difference. You will disagree less about money.
What are the other things that cause disagreement? In our part of the world, in-laws can also cause a problem. In my opinion it is also a function of not seeing yourself as being one unit with your spouse. Once a parent, brother or sister is sacred and placed before your relationship, that person becomes the one the enemy uses to wield power over you as a couple. Once again I must remind you, if you are married, you are not two in one, you are one unit. One whole. Family members-parents, siblings, relatives always want to keep you but, they must begin to see you as one with your spouse, not them. Anyone who does not respect that, should be kept away, if you want to keep your relationship. Again it borders on the value you place on your relationship. If you see it from God’s eyes, you will treat is as sacrosanct.
What are the other issues-Housework, Childcare, sex, gender issues, fidelity etc. There may be some that are peculiar to you as a couple, but whatever they may be, having the right attitude is crucial to getting back on the same page. Attitude of seeing yourself as an equal partner with someone you absolutely love, someone you want to continue to be with.
That attitude comes with trust, responsibility, honesty, accountability, fairness, the desire to negotiate issues, respect and definitely non-threatening behavior. That attitude is supportive of one another. Who doesn’t want that kind of relationship? It take two of you to build that kind of relationship.
On the other hand people tend to use negative actions and attitude to disagree that can never help to resolve the issues-
Coercion and threats, isolation, denial, throwing blames, economic abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, no sex or using the children as the fighting ring. These are all totally unacceptable. The sad thing is that no one really wants to have acrimony in their space yet we use these kinds of behavior to attempt to resolve issues. They never work. The relationships can only deteriorate. Why use them when they don’t work?
In dealing with disagreement, remember two cannot walk together except they agree. Also remember that your marriage is a 3 fold cord that cannot easily be broken. The power to keep it strong is available in God, to keep it alive and sweet. You must be willing to pay the price God expects from you to make your home a haven where the Spirit of god can dwell and ensure the will of God is in place. Be the agent of peace. Even if your spouse has gone crazy, decide to be the one God can work with and He will work with you.
The power of prayer can also not be over emphasized. Remember the popular saying that a family that prays together stays together. Sometimes, you need to get into the closet with God to sort issues out. Don’t wait till things get out of hand.
For me I love being married. It does not mean we never disagree but I have told you what we do to keep ours going. I have been at it for almost 22 years. Trust me, they work. Just try them. Enjoy yourselves. Enjoy marriage. Give people watching reason to want to get married. That is what God expects. Delight yourselves in Him and He will sort things out for you. Ck