key to a successful marriage

One Key to a Successful Marriage: Conflict

Most of us try to avoid conflict; however, a friend of mine actually picked a fight with his fiancee’ at that time, now his wife. Prior to asking her to marry him, he did his very best to cause a conflict between them. Unlike most of us during those dating years who try to avoid conflict at all costs, he knew marital conflict was inevitable. He was not trying to get her to end the relationship, but he wanted to learn how they would handle conflict once they got married.

Every single relationship you have will experience some sort of conflict, especially your marriage relationship. That is not a bad thing when handled properly. Here is a 3-step method to handling conflict that will give you a successful marriage:

1. Discuss the impact.

When you are at a point of conflict, whether it is over something that was done, not done, said, or not said, move the focus to the impact it’s having on you and your spouse. This goes both ways. Don’t just share your concern and how it impacts you, but allow your wife to do the same. Be quiet when she is sharing. This will allow you both to see it from the other person’s perspective.

2. Discuss the desire.

After you’ve expressed your concern and how it impacted you, what do you want to happen? What does your wife want to happen? Allow your wife to share what she desires. How would she have liked this situation to play out or what result would she like to receive. You share the same from your perspective with her.

3. Discuss the action.

Now that you’ve discussed your concern, the potential impact, and your desire to make it right or better for you both, it’s now time to discuss what you are willing to do. You didn’t like how things played out, and you shared with your wife a better way to resolve the conflict. Now you must be willing to take action to create the outcome in your marriage that you both desire that will lead to success. [Tweet This]

Sound Off

How do you handle conflict with your wife?

Jackie Bledsoe

Jackie Bledsoe is an author, blogger, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father of three, who helps men better lead and love the ones who matter most.

  • SwiffTee

    This is great advice. I’d try it, but my fiancé is so damn stubborn there’s no reasonability with her when we argue. Its her way or the highway. Any advice on handling this?!

    • next time you start to argue start taking your clothes off and see how she reacts.

    • BJ_Foster

      That’s difficult. Have you brought this up with her when you are not in the middle of a conflict? It’s hard to bring up a subject like this when things are good, but it’s best to talk about it when she is at her most calm. Would you and/or she consider going to counseling or bringing in a third party? It would help learn some new techniques in conflict resolution. I think it would also be good to look below the surface to see why its “her way or the highway”. Is there something painful in her past that is driving this? There’s probably something about conflict or giving up control that makes her feel unsafe. If you are able to identify, that it will make all the difference.

    • Marlene

      You are so right…in the middle of the fray is
      not the time to address her stubborn side. Maybe a little different
      approach. Each of us have weaknesses in our own makeup that we bring
      into a relationship. Perhaps see if she would be open to writing you a
      “love letter” and you to her just tackling one thing each that upsets
      the apple cart in your relationship. Just take one issue (not the
      stubborn one for now) and each of you share one and tell the other how it
      makes you feel. Take some quiet time and sit down face-to-face and read
      your letters…once for the head and once for the heart. Then dialog
      just on this one topic.

  • Scott Smyth

    How can you have this sort of rational discussion at the point of conflict? That’s the least likely time that anything approximating reason is going to be attainable.

  • Patrick Marsh

    It’s not that these are not good tips on conflict resolution in terms of a practical strategy but the preparation needs to go much deeper and needs to be grounded in God’s Word well before the point of conflict arrives. There is a fantastic book out there titled “If You Bite & Devour One Another” by Alexander Strauch with the title being derived from the verses in Galatians 5:13. This discourse on contrasting the fruits of the Spirit and the works of the flesh are some of the best advice God gives us in regards to conflict in relationships. The book focuses more on the application towards things like church dissension and small group leadership but also has great application towards any relationship we might be part of. The basic point being from verse 16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Walking in the Spirit and enjoying the fruits of the Spirit require an abiding and obedient walk with Christ and things like praying with ones spouse and studying Scripture together are the seeds that need to be sown to allow for godly conflict to occur more often than not and certainly applying practical tools like the author provides here can certainly be utilized as part of the process.

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Huddle up with your wife and ask, “How can we better handle conflict in a way that improves our marriage?”

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