Communication and Conflict

I recently celebrated twenty-four years of marriage to my loving husband Leon. What an incredible journey we've had as a married couple. This has caused me to consider the reasons for our success as a couple. What are the keys to a successful marriage? I know that many married couples, singles, and non-married couples are asking this question. Just the other day, I met a beautiful young woman at the beauty salon. After some small talk, we started talking about relationships.  She was married two years ago, and told me of her struggles with her spouse during her first year of marriage. She also told me that she didn’t know how to resolve their marriage issues. Like most people I talk to about marriage, she'd received very little preparation from her parents on the topic of marriage.

After more small talk, unexpectedly, she asked, “What is the best advice you can give me for my marriage?” She was a complete stranger that was captivated by the importance of this topic. What a privilege it was for me to speak life to a young woman and share my life experiences with young married couples.

I proceeded to share with my new friend what I knew about conflicts in marriage.

A marriage is a blessing that is worth fighting for and ironically, there tends to be a lot of conflicts in marriage relationships.

Most couples I know have conflict in their relationship, and guess what, that can be a positive force. It’s through conflict that we have the opportunity to communicate and bless each other.

For many years my husband and I thought that not having conflict was one of the best things we could accomplish.  I tend to be the kind of person that likes to resolve problems quickly. My husband’s style is to avoid conflicts and put hard discussions off until later.  Once we discovered that conflicts were inevitable, we were able to consider the benefits of having conflicts and discover how to effectively resolve disagreements and grow from the experience.

In a nutshell, this is what I shared with my new friend. I shared with her that conflict is not always negative. In fact, it's an inevitable part of the marriage relationship that needs to be managed in a positive way. Think of it this way, conflict can bring problems into the light and help couples face their issues instead of denying them. Conflicts help couples appreciate individual differences. And conflicts give you a chance to empathize with your spouse. Most importantly, conflicts can teach us how to more effectively communicate in a healthy manner so that you are putting the relationship first, which will in turn help you to understand your spouse’s heart.