Resolving Conflicts in Relationships

I counseled an intending couple some time ago. During the pre-marital counseling session, I asked how often they have conflicts and how they usually resolve them. The lady replied and said, their love for one another is so strong that they have never had any conflict or disagreement in their one year of courtship.

 

This is the lie many unmarried couples believe, that once you love your partner, you don’t have conflicts. The problem of the married, on the other hand, is obviously not the absence of conflicts, but how to resolve them amicably.

 

Conflict is a situation in which people are involved in a serious disagreement or argument. It is a struggle between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, opinions, values, or feelings. Conflict is a fact of life. This imperfect world is filled with imperfect people who are so different in their orientation, beliefs, and so on; such difference usually brings conflict. Since we’re different, we perceive differently and see things from a different perspective. The problem is not usually the difference in our perception, but the fact that each person wants to have his or her way. The self becomes the major culprit in resolving conflicts.

 

No matter how much you try, you can’t absolutely avoid conflict, but you can resolve same quickly and not allow it to weaken or destroy the bond of your relationship. It is said that even the tongue and teeth sometimes fight, making you bite your tongue in the process, how much more does your partner step on your toes and disagreeing with you? Conflict is common to man.

 

“No temptation (conflicts, trials, etc.) has seized you except what is common to man. God is faithful; He will not allow you to be tempted

 

beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out, so that you can stand up under it” (1Cor.10:13).

 

In the book of Esther.4, we saw Queen Esther in a state of conflict. Her husband’s people revolted against her own people to destroy them. This kind of conflict is particularly common in Africa, ‘the in-law conflict’. Esther showed us a godly example of how to resolve conflict of all kinds with the way she resolved hers.

 

  1. She confronted the issue: She refused to run away from her Instead, decided to face her conflict by confronting it. Never sweep issues under the carpet because that will only aggravate it. Also, leaving the relationship or marriage does not always end the conflicts. It may be an end to the physical conflict, but a beginning of a greater one. (Though this is not the case with some separated or divorced couples). I have seen men and women who left their married partner for another, only to discover that the problem is not with their ex-partners but they themselves. Even ten more marriages will fail until they change.
  1. She prayed: Esther had the choice of getting angry and making trouble, but she went to the Lord with her pain, frustration, and anger in prayers. This was the case of King Jehoshaphat too, in 2 Chron.20. Going to the Lord in prayers usually helps in calming you down, it gives you wisdom in how to resolve the conflict and most importantly engages God in your battle. When God takes over, you will laugh last. Prayer makes you a man or woman of a quiet spirit, it humbles you, makes you respond more calmly, and guarantees victory.
  1. Wisdom and Humility: She showed great wisdom and humility in not mentioning the problem before the crowd, but in privacy during dinner with the king. This is the mistake some of us make. Washing your dirty linen outside is not wisdom, except in the case of abuse. The bible says wisdom is the principal thing. Some conflicts could have been avoided or resolved

quickly if wisdom was displayed. Your response to your partner is very important, you need to understand your partner and respond with peace and humility. Say sorry when at fault and taking each other out on ‘peace dinner’ can be a great way to end the conflict. The Bible says, a wise woman builds her home, and a wise husband too will build his home and not destroy it with arrogance. Let your words be seasoned with wisdom at all times. A man/woman that is humble has so much to gain because pride destroys relationships.

Nagging escalate conflicts. Refuse to exchange words because you’re likely to regret the words you speak in anger. Understand who your partner is and trust the Lord to work on you both. I took a personal vow not to exchange words of anger with my husband, and God helped me for over 10 years of marriage to keep the vow. It has not been all rosy, we do have a conflict like every other couple, and I have been tempted severally, but I believe that God gives grace to those who desire it. To those reading this that have difficult partners, I pray for peace; and I pray that the Lord will guide you through that path of peace in Jesus’ name.

Please read my blog on ‘tips for resolving conflicts in relationships.