Dealing with Conflict in Marriage

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Marriage was not meant to bring us down, but it was meant to be beautiful and for us to serve God better together than on our own. If God put us together, it is His will for us to put out the “fires” (conflicts) that inevitably will come when two flawed individuals come together as one in marriage.

When conflicts do come we should not run to a friend or even our parents. Often times, it is easier to tell someone who can sympathize with and reassure us we are in the right, but if we have a real relationship with Christ, we need to go to Him first. He helps us to see where WE have wronged our spouses by our actions or reactions. He also gives us the wisdom we need to fix the problem.
We should also not run from the conflict or ignore it. This may be seen by escaping to social media, video games, TV, a good book, or maybe just going to sleep. All of these responses are wrong because we are not dealing with the root problem. This only causes the “fire” to grow, breeding discontentment and bitterness in our marriage.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”Galatians 5:13-17
The Bible describes this perfectly. We must fight the battle against our flesh, learn not to “bite and devour one another,” and learn to walk in the Spirit, especially when conflict comes.

Sometimes conflicts can be dealt with right away by choosing the right response at the point of impact. If we are walking in the Spirit, it is easy to overlook any problems, realize our spouses do love us and cover their “sin” against us with love.

Other times, there are bigger conflicts or wrong responses when we have not “walked in the Spirit” and need to take a break from the situation so that we can respond in a biblical way. During these times, using a journal has been helpful for me. Try this the next time you are dealing with conflict in your marriage.

Journaling Through Conflicts:

1. First, get alone with God. You need a quiet place where you can pray out loud and be alone with God.

*Using a journal, I will usually tell God all about the problem. Tell him what happened, how I feel, why I feel wronged. Writing this down helps me to see what I’m feeling and to be objective about it. Writing to the Lord also helps me to keep my spirit in check.

2. Next, you must listen and write down what He tells you to do.

*I often know what I need to do because I know God’s character. I know He loves me, forgives me, and overlooks my many sins, but this time with Him is about turning this conflict over to Him.
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*I also turn to His Word, the Bible, and I replace any lies that I have believed with His truth. I confess anything that I have done wrong and write these down too.  

3. Then, you must pray for His help and strength as you go to your spouse.
*It is a battle to humble myself, to admit my wrong actions or reactions. I need to be prepared to hear something I may not want to hear, but need to hear. I need help to overlook the flaws of my spouse and to respond how God wants me to and not to react.  

4. Next, read over everything you have written so far and journal exactly what you will say to your spouse.
*Doing this helps me to look over the conflict objectively. I make sure I avoid words like “You always… “ or “You never…” I also check that my words are not showing any disrespect.  

5. Then, go humbly to your spouse, praying as you go, remembering Christ is right by your side.
*I admit wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness.
*I then listen, really listen, working through the conflict together, discussing the solution..
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Recently there has been plenty of opportunities to practice conflict resolution in my marriage. I am not perfect, often fail, and often do not respond the way I am supposed to. But using a journal has been one way God has been helping me work through conflict. It reveals my blind spots more clearly and helps me to see the path ahead easier. I am thankful for a God who loves, forgives, and is long suffering to a sinner such as I.

NOTE: If there is conflict that becomes physical or verbally abusive, or if you feel out of control or overwhelmed, please talk to your pastor, his wife, or another Godly woman, who can further help you. God has given us these individuals to encourage you and support you and it is not wrong to seek counsel.
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