Kate says . . .
Hi, my name is Kate and I’m a conflict avoider! Yup, it’s true, I dislike conflict and will do all that I can to stay away from it. On the other hand, when I cannot avoid the conflict for one reason or another, I like to move towards resolution. Hence, I also don’t like discord! Whether you find yourself in the “Conflict Avoider” camp or the “Bring on the Conflict” camp, it is not easy. Especially when it involves our one flesh marriage relationship.
In Brad’s post Please Don’t Hurt Me, he challenged that through conflict comes growth and intimacy. Our marriage is a living testament to this. When we have met the biggest challenges in our marriage is when we have been able to be open to growth God’s way.
When conflict arises we tend to respond emotionally, while our husbands tend to respond more on the details side. While our responses are very different, the issue boils down to: How do we encourage our one flesh marriage connection through conflict?
Every marriage has conflict and I am sure every marriage has ignored it at times. Thus creating more conflict instead of sweeping it under the rug as desired. So how can we handle ourselves in a way that will be positive even when we are in the heat of conflict?
Don’t sweep it under the rug
-see the red flag for what it is.
So conflict comes knocking at your door. You and your hubby are struggling with something that affects both of you and there is conflict. Letting it lay, or ignoring it all together seems like a great idea. Perhaps saying all that you feel and yet not listening to your husband sounds good to you. Either way, see the conflict for what it is, a red flag. Not a detrimental red flag, but one that says “warning, we are not on the same page about this.” God desires for you to work through these things together. To compromise at times, to submit at others, to seek help for others. He does not want us, stifling it or simply seeking to gain what we want. See the red flag and be proactive in wanting to work through the conflict with your hubby. If he is hesitant, encourage him that you love him and although you are not seeing eye to eye at the moment, you desire to work through this together.
Don’t make it about something it is not
Sometimes during a conflict, it can be very tempting to deflect the focus and spotlight. All you are truly doing in this situation is avoiding the conflict. Creatively avoiding, yet it is still avoiding the conflict. When you have a conflict, understand what it is about and don’t start bringing in old conflicts and use that time to vent all the things your hubby has done in the past week that have irked you. It simply isn’t nice and will not encourage intimacy through working through conflict. Stay on the topic at hand.
Be encouraged when you see your hubby stepping up
I know, I know, sometimes we just don’t want to deal-whatever the conflict is. But your husband is making an effort to not skirt around the issues, be encouraged by that. He wants to fight for your marriage, not just fight.
Deal with the hard issues
Understand that hard issues are going to come up. Sexual intimacy and finances are the top two causes of conflict in marriage. They are not easy to talk about, yet you need to deal with them to grow intimately with your spouse. When your hubby brings them up to you, don’t avoid or deflect! Make a commitment to work through it together.
Examine your own heart and seek God
I know that I like to avoid conflict. I want to deflect the spotlight to any issue but what is the real issue. I know this about me! Do you know what your tendencies are when it comes to conflict? Take a few minutes to think about the conflicts you have had in your marriage, how have you handled them? Can you see a pattern?
Consider how to vary things so that good conflict resolution can occur and you can grow together. I encourage you to share your tendencies with your hubby. Brad and I talk often about how I prefer to avoid conflict. We do this because, he knows me very well and conflict happens in all areas of our lives, not just marriage. I want him to know that I am aware of how I deal with hard situations, because he can help me along when I struggle.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
How do you respond to conflict in your marriage?
Have your patterns continued over the years and built walls between you and your hubby?
Share how you have overcome this to build intimacy in your marriage.