During the first two years of our marriage, we had a lot of conflicts. What’s worse is we didn’t know how to fight.
Star was a “Hurler.” She could talk circles around me in an argument (and still can to this day – but I’m getting better!). My thoughts and emotions would spin out of control in our fights. So much so that to keep the peace, I would agree with whatever she said and give her a hug.
I was a “Hider.” I believed this method of resolving disagreements was better. But it was just as bad as Star. My repeated tendency to flee and ignore the conflict between us significantly contributed to us getting separated and contemplating divorce just two short years into our marriage.
Although it wasn’t right for me to ignore the problems between us, it was understandable based on some lies I believed about conflict:
- Good marriages don’t fight – Although there is some truth to this statement, I thought more conflict automatically equaled a lousy marriage, so I avoided it.
- Ignoring conflict is the “Christian” thing to do – “Turn the other cheek,” “Love covers over a multitude of sins,” etc…
- Conflict is unproductive– I didn’t believe any good could be accomplished through conflict.
Fortunately, we can look to God’s word to replace these lies with truth. Instead of “Hiding” or “Hurling,” we can pursue “Healing” in our conflict. Notice how the following truths are in direct opposition to the lies above.
- Marriage will be a fight – Ok. A little exaggerated, I admit. But look at what 1 Cor 7:28 says, “…Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles…” Think about it, when one flawed person is married to another imperfect person, there are guaranteed problems ahead. Fights will happen. If they don’t, I question the level of intimacy in your marriage.
- Conflict is to be faced – Don’t hide. Don’t hurl. Heal! (Matthew 5:23-24 and Galatians 6:1) How do you pursue healing? For now, consider how practicing the following three options would have impacted a recent “fight” you had with your spouse.
- Conflict is an opportunity to Glorify God – This is where it gets exciting. In any conflict with your spouse, there is almost a 100% chance of sin on both sides. So, with EVERY conflict in your marriage, you will almost ALWAYS have an opportunity to confess (to God and your spouse) AND extend forgiveness. Would you agree that these 2 acts are glorifying to God? Yes! The goal of conflict isn’t to win or come out ahead with less sin to confess than your spouse. The goal of any conflict is to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31, Col 3:17).
So, would you fight for your marriage by facing the conflict you’re in for God’s glory?
I’m so thankful that Christ practiced this with us 2000 years ago amid the most significant conflict – our rebellion against Him. He fought for us sacrificially. And, He faced and dealt with the conflict between us once and for all at the cross by forgiving our past, present, and future sins so that God would be glorified. And keep in mind Christ did this as the offended party. Thank you, Jesus!
Discuss with your spouse:
Do you tend to Hide or Hurl?
What are some of your beliefs about conflict (positive and negative), and how have they affected how you deal with conflict?
How does knowing that God (as the offended party) pursued you to the point of death in your conflict with him impact your willingness to do the same with your spouse?
Hans co-founded Marriage Revolution with his wife, Star, in 2010. He counsels couples in The Woodlands, TX, speaks at marriage conferences around the country, and provides leadership and direction to Marriage Revolution.