If you are married or invloved in a relationship of any kind with one other person, you are sure to encounter conflict. How you deal with this conflict will determine the health and strength of your relationship.
What was the topic of the last fight you had with your spouse? Maybe your husband didn’t remember to pick up your daughter from soccer practice. Maybe your wife didn’t pay the electric bill for the second month in a row. Maybe one of you wanted to make love and the other was too tired. Maybe your husband didn’t call to let you know he would be late coming home from work or your wife didn’t tell you that she had to leave for a meeting at 6pm and dinner would be late.
Does any of this sound familiar? According to researchers, most fights in marriage center on money, sex, work, children, and housework – roughly in that order.
While the topic of your latest argument likely falls into one of the above categories, the reason for the fight or conflict boils down to one thing: selfishness.
Yes, selfishness. One of you feels that you are bearing the burden of work and finances, keeping romance alive, taking care of the kids, and/or taking care of the house while the other isn’t carrying his or her weight in one or more of these areas.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. James 4:1,2 (NIV)
I know that in my own marriage, when I get upset with my husband, it is usually because of one thing that, in my opinion, he is not taking as seriously as I am at the moment. It’s not that he purposely acted in a way that would upset me; it’s just that I feel that I am doing more than my fair share and he isn’t doing his.
Fortunately, neither of us feels this way often, and when do, we are able to discuss the issue without it turning into a fight. And, even more fortunately for me, my husband is much better at this than I.
The next time you get upset with your mate, ask yourself these 5 questions before letting it turn into a fight:
Is this an issue that I’m upset about today but tomorrow or the next day or the next I will probably forget about?
Is this issue caused by a character trait that is just different from mine and I will learn to allow him or her this difference?
Have I communicated my desire on this issue to my mate and he or she is not respecting my wishes, or am I expecting that he or she should just know how I feel about this? He or she should be able to read my mind.
Is this an ongoing issue that is driving a wedge between us?
Is this issue caused by a character trait in my spouse that likely affects his or her other relationships in a negative way as well?
Depending on your answers to the above questions, take some time to think about how to communicate the issue to your mate. Take time to let it rest for an hour or two or a day or until the time is right to talk about it.
Tomorrow I will share ways to resolve conflict in marriage that will bring healthy resolutions to issues between you and your mate.
Yours for the celebration of marriage,
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