Marital Conflict Do's and Dont's

When conflict arises in your marriage, how do you handle it? It's not a matter of if, but of when. There are right (read: healthy and productive) ways to handle it. There are also wrong (read: unhealthy and destructive) ways to handle it. In his book Marriage Matters, Winston T. Smith helps readers distinguish between the two.

Destructive Ways to Handle Conflict (... and why they don't work)

Appease: "Find a way to appease or satisfy others so that there's no reason for conflict ... When you misrepresent your thoughts and feelings you feel known, understood, or loved. When you do things you don't really want to do you feel frustrated and unhappy." (pg. 152)

Ignore: "Pretend the problem doesn't exist ... though you choose not to acknowledge them, there are still problems and conflicts in your marriage and relationships that will only get worse over time if they aren't directly addressed." (pg. 152 - 153)

Win: "Settle problems by prevailing ... may not be genuinely convinced or persuaded by the winner but simply cave into the emotional pressure, realizing that they aren't going to be heard." (pg. 153)

Constructive (biblical) ways to handle conflict

Yield: "Sometimes loving our spouse means surrendering, for their benefit, what we may be entitled to." (pg. 156)

Wait: "Rather than addressing every instance of failing, we need to be patient with our spouses as God is with us." (pg. 156)

Confront: "Once you realize that sin, not your spouse, is your real enemy, then you can begin to understand that sin can't be ignored ... The Bible teaches that there are times to speak directly and honestly about a problem ... The Bible teaches us to love one another as God has loved us." (pg. 156 - 157)


"Conflict resolution is about more than figuring out who's right and who's wrong. It requires us to know more than the facts of the issue at hand. We also have to know enough about each other and love itself to plot a course that leads to growth." (pg. 160 - 161)

"... Jesus doesn't establish peace by ignoring sin; he establishes peace by defeating sin." (pg. 161)

(All quotes taken from Marriage Matters by Winston T. Smith ©2010 by New Growth Press).

You can get the book here.

Hold Fast (pt. 2) Why God?

My Take: Logos Bible Software