Conflict resolution in marriage – Tribune Online

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Conflicts in relationships are inevitable. Once more than one person exists in any place, there are bound to be conflicts due to personality differences. There are no two persons that are the same, both biologically and personality traits wise. Even identical twins come with different personality traits. It has also been established that no two persons have the same DNA. This is why we will always have reasons to quarrel. Our reasoning and approach to issues will always differ.

So, when we get into marriage, we will definitely step on each other’s toes and cause pains for each other. Conflict in relationships, especially marriage, is thus inevitable.

Inevitability of resolution of conflict

Where there is conflict, resolution of it must exist. Where there is conflict, there will also be resolution. Conflict resolution must therefore be of topmost priority in every relationship, especially marriage. Every person going into marriage must factor conflict resolution into it. It must be given topmost priority before one says “I do”. I remember that my husband and I had to discuss it before we got married. We agreed that we must always find a point of resolving our conflicts, whenever it arises. This is one thing that has kept us going. We agreed that come what may, our union must be forever. Not even the Christian faith principle of ‘God hates divorce’, is as strong as the resolve of partners in marriage that it must be forever. It is the absence of such position that has made conflict resolution a herculean task in marriage.

Married couples must not let conflicts fester. Thus, you must not only be proactive, but intentional, towards conflict resolution. Let it be one of your pre marital agreements that the sun must not go down on your wrath. Festering conflicts breed emotional and physical abuses.

The beauty of marriage must not be made ugly by conflicts; They must strive to nip it in the bud as quickly as it comes.

Conflict resolution in marriage becomes difficult due to the following factors among others.

Hardness of heart: Without doubt, we have persons across genders that are hard hearted. They don’t give in easily to correction. Once they face one direction, there must be a way, and it must lead to their intended destination. Such are not easily dissuaded from a course of action. So, when two of such become husband and wife, conflicts easily, becoming a point of departure or disengagement from the marriage. That’s what happens when a couple settles for divorce. Those who stay in the marriage forever are two persons who have agreed either before the marriage, or in the marriage, to always adopt soft mind in resolving their conflicts. They don’t give in to “fight to finish”. Rather, it’s “fight to resolve”, for them.

Lack of openness between the couple: When a couple is not free to express each other in the marriage, conflicts will continue to thrive. Issues get bottled up, till such a time, the bottle becomes filled up to overspill, and finally explodes.

Wrong usage of the tongue: It’s a common saying in many societies that a sharp tongue will set a city on fire. Biblically, it is also stated that soft answer turns away anger. I have written before on the issue of poor communication in relationships, including marriage. One aspect of poor communication is wrong usage of words or the tongue. Conflict festers when husband and wife deplore sharp tongue in the face of conflicts. This will make resolution of conflict difficult.

Lack of wisdom in dealing with each other: Many people in marriage do not exhibit in dealing with each other wisdom. Thus, it doesn’t only lead to conflicts, but also makes reconciliation difficult. Each partner in the marriage must know where to stop when a relationship is tending towards strife. It’s wisdom to be sensitive to each other’s feelings, so as to avoid conflicts, or minimize it. Wisdom demands that you should not take your spouse for granted over any issue. I don’t care attitude is lack of wisdom. Like one man said, “After all, I foot all the bills, so why is she complaining about my keeping late nights or traveling often.” The same is applicable to a wife who consistently deny her husband sexual pleasure, asking, “is it food?”

Lack of consistent prayers for your spouse: Praying, instead of protesting about his weakness or mistakes, makes conflict resolution easier. But many couples trivialize the issue of praying for each other. Even those who don’t believe in God also cannot deny the existence of forces working for or against persons and situations. Thus, they have their own way of connecting with such forces. Unfortunately, many God believing or religious people don’t engage the weapon of prayers in resolving or minimizing conflicts, as much as they should. Rather, they keep nagging their spouses.

Couples will do well to put these factors into consideration in their marriage, if conflict resolution will be made easy. The rate increasing of divorce, even now among the religious ones, makes this resolve needful. We will therefore do well if we deplore conflict resolution in protecting our marriage.

Approaches to Conflict Resolution in marriage

  • One on one: It’s between two of you. So, resolution between the two of you is the best way to approach conflicts. You are one, so, how can you report to people that you are at war with yourself? You should know that intermediary (ies) have compounded the conflicts through poor handling of it, in so many cases. No matter who intervenes, two of you will still have to go back to iron out your differences, even after the third party intervention. You should therefore avoid intermediary as much as possible.
  • Third party approach: This happens when the issue becomes too difficult to resolve between the two partners. There could be some thorny issues that require the experience of other matured married persons, who can weigh in on your conflicts, and save the marriage. Issues of adultery or side chicks or side cock, out of wedlock children, profession or job related issues are in this category. You will do well to seek for counseling.

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