Often when my husband, Jim, and I meet with couples for mentoring and they inform us that they never have disagreements, we know they are avoiding conflict. We recommend they have their first fight over something silly and we’ll discuss the details of what caused their blood to boil at the next meeting.
Disagreement is a good thing for two reasons
- Negotiation of differences is taking place, and compromise will lead to positive change in the relationship.
- Communication can improve if time is taken to work through a disagreement.
As we discuss what caused a couple’s disagreement, we go to Scripture to open their eyes to God’s design for resolving conflict.
Never payback evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” say the Lord. Instead, if your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good (Romans 12:17-21).
During conflict it is difficult to believe your spouse is a gift from God and not the enemy. Scripture tells us to provide food and drink to our enemies. How much more should we provide to our spouse? How much more should we be aware that our conflict is not against an enemy, but a friend about whom we deeply care?
There is a reactionary thought process that takes place during disagreements.
- My spouse must feel the same pain he/she has inflicted upon me.
- Responding in a louder, more forceful tone will get my point across.
Responses that take place during conflict are often twisted into justification. In truth, they are pure revenge. That is why Romans tells us, “never pay back evil with more evil.” The idea is to keep our heart still, bring peace to the situation, and stop our mouth from instilling further harm.
Proverbs provides several reminders about the damage our tongues can do, as well as teaching us what will bring healing power to a relationship.
15:1: A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
15:28: The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.
16:24: Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
I have found the best resource for resolving all marital disagreement is the Bible. The problem is, in the heat of the moment, it’s not easy to read because the reflection of our sin may bounce off the pages.
Copyright © 2017 Sheri Mueller, Growthtrac Ministries