Conflict doesn’t mean death to your marriage. Divorce is most common when conflict is hidden or unresolved, not when it’s dealt with openly. Conflict in itself doesn’t lead to divorce. 

Lack of resolution has brought divorce at worst and unhappiness at best. Conflict resolution may sound complicated, but it’s possible. It’s a skill that requires the commitment of both spouses and can be refined with practice.

How to deal with conflict in marriage

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” —Proverbs 27:17

Conflict can actually be a tool for strengthening relationships. When it is handled correctly, two people share their hearts with each other, trying to listen and be heard while connecting on a deep level. When you deal with conflict in a caring and positive way, the result can be a deeper relationship and greater intimacy.

You can change the way you handle conflict. “But that’s just the way I am,” you might say. “Besides, my spouse keeps provoking me!” Resist the urge to say these things! Instead of justifying our behavior, we need to discover how to properly react to disagreements no matter how intense they may be or who’s at fault.

When you view your spouse’s problem as your own, you’re much more likely to get serious about helping to work it out. Look for mutually beneficial solutions that resolve the tension. You can realign the way you handle disagreement to better reflect the pattern God wants to see.

Agree to disagree.

Agree to Disagree. Sometimes agreeing to disagree is a choice to accept your spouse’s preference out of respect or love. The key seems to be your willingness to not get defensive or to insist on “winning.”

We are selfish.

Humans are selfish beings, but marriage is an institute in which we must be selfless. Sacrificing your want or opinion in certain circumstances to show your spouse the love and respect they need is always worth it. After all, wouldn’t you want your spouse to do that for you sometimes?

Conflict can be positive.

Conflict can be positive, really! Not resolving conflict may give an initial feeling of peace or harmony, but it’s like a wound that heals on the surface when underneath there’s an infection that needs to be released. No one enjoys lancing the wound, but real recovery can’t take place otherwise. 

Each time you work out a disagreement in a healthy way, you’re better equipped to deal with the next one. Conflict handled properly can fine-tune a relationship: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).