There’s no real way to avoid conflict in marriage. We do, however, need to move beyond destructive habits and learn how to resolve conflicts properly as they arise.
Dr. David Clarke has been married for 35 years and can attest to the fact that conflict is inevitable in any marriage. He explains why it’s important for couples to be able to work through their disagreements in a productive manner.
“Conflict is always there between a man and a woman because of all the differences; sexual differences of course, the gender thing, annoying habits, personality differences. You’re living together so conflict is a given.”
We tend to learn how to address conflicts based on what we witnessed growing up. Dr. Clarke explains how this can negatively affect marriages.
“Most of us do not learn how to deal with conflict growing up in our homes. If it was handled well, it was always behind closed doors. We come in the marriage and if you can’t resolve conflicts you just get bogged down; you can’t fix things, you can’t come to solutions and compromises, you don’t get to make up afterwards because you haven’t fixed it.”
You may not have dealt with conflict well in the past, but Dr. Clarke reminds us that it’s never too late to learn healthy patterns and behaviors.
“I teach couples exactly how to do it. It’s a very simple template and if you follow the rules, it will work. You can talk through anything, anytime. That way, the conflicts that you haven’t resolved won’t build up and transfer to every new conflict.”
He offers a prayer of hope for those who are struggling to resolve conflicts in their marriage.
‘Dear Father, I’m praying for all those who are struggling or know people that are struggling in their marriages. You’re the God who can do anything and we’re asking you to come through in all of these situations.
We’re asking for these marriages to be saved, for both people to be motivated, or at least one to step forward and follow a program like mine, whatever it takes to get these marriages back on track. That’s what we want.
Marriage is the bedrock of society, it’s the foundation of the church, it’s so important. We’re just asking for your grace and your power in all these situations. In Christ’s name, amen.’
Resolving conflicts in our marriages is possible, but we have to be willing to move past destructive behaviors and learn how to communicate in a fair and God-honoring way.
Dr. David E. Clarke is a Christian psychologist, popular speaker, and successful author. Through his Bible-based teaching and therapy, he guides people toward healthy lives, marriages, and families. He is author of several books including I Don't Want a Divorce: A 90 Day Guide to Saving Your Marriage.