Fight Fair: Learning to Handle Conflict in Your Relationship

Conflict is natural part of human relationships. Learning to respond to conflict correctly will enhance your relationship.

Fight Fair Learning to Handle Conflict in Your Relationship
When it comes to conflict, a lot of time is spent talking about what was done wrong. But discussions without actions do not lead to restoration. When your refrigerator is broken, how do you approach it? Do you talk about its brokenness? The problems you observe? The fact that you keep putting food in it and the food spoils? Do your conversations sound like this: The refrigerator just doesn’t work like it used to. How I wish I could go back to the good old days. Man, if that fuse had kept working, the refrigerator would still work too! It’s the fault of the fuse! Do you go on and on for days just talking about the fridge? No! You’d be a fool to do that. You buy a new fuse and fix the problem.
Why do we handle conflict with our spouse, or in a relationship differently? Why do we tend to address the same problems over and over again instead of working on fixing the situation? You need to maintain your relationship as you maintain your appliances, and marriage requires maintenance. When you allow conflict to fester, you open yourself up to more problems.
When it comes to addressing conflict, Ephesians 4:26-27 provides guidelines as it says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” When it comes to conflict, learning to apply these principals will help to bring about a resolution while fighting fair:

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27

#1: Be Angry, But Do Not Sin

Anger is a natural response to conflict. As the Bible says, “be angry and do not sin”. Being angry is okay. The way you respond to anger is important. Don’t allow your anger to control your responses thus resulting in sin. Too often anger is given the driver’s seat resulting in saying or doing something that is later regretted. When you are angry, know how to let it go, thus giving no opportunity to the devil. Seek out God and let Him speak to you about the situation.

#2: Take Ownership of Your Part – Conflict Takes Two

With conflict, we each play our part. No conflict is 100% another person’s fault. There is always a role we play, even if the role was minor, we still had a part. When responding to conflict, take ownership of your part. After seeking out God, initiate with your spouse. Don’t wait for your spouse to come to you. Go to your spouse, apologize for your role and action. Apologize to apologize, not to receive an apology.
When my husband and I used to fight, I was one who would ignore him and let my anger fester. It would be time for bed, and I wanted to make sure he felt my anger. I’d role to the edge of the bed, as far as I could be from him. To ensure he knew I was mad at him, I wouldn’t speak to him or kiss him goodnight. This did nothing for the situation and was counterproductive for what I hoped would occur. For my response and attitude provided a focus for my husband’s irritation with me. There was no room for God to work in his heart because he was focused on me and my attitude.
Take initiative with your spouse and be the first one to apologize. Apologize for the part you played. This removes you from the table and opens up your spouse to the work of the Holy Spirit, if God wants to do a work in your spouse.

#3: Don’t Let the Sun Go Down – Limit the Time

Not letting the sun go down on your anger does not mean that all conflict must be resolved before nightfall. This scripture provides a general guideline for time. It is important that conflict be resolved as soon as possible, but recognize some conflict may take time to resolve. When we dwell on our anger, we allow a problem to fester. Thus, giving an opportunity to divide our family. The devil wants nothing more than to divide your family for a divided family cannot stand and will fail.
Learning to apply these guidelines, the disagreements between my husband and I look very different now than what I shared above. Recently, we had a disagreement that we could not resolve by evening. There will be times that a disagreement will require a night’s sleep for things look different in the morning. As we were getting ready for bed, long gone are the days that I roll over and give him a cold shoulder. Now, holding hands, we pray together over the disagreement, seeking God as a couple, reminding each other of our love as we set aside our differences knowing that resolution is certain.
Related Post: How to be Married
Matt Chandler says in his book Mingling of the Souls (page 175), “Walking according to the Spirit, though, we can learn to love each other well, take responsibility for our sins, and forgive as we’ve been forgiven. We learn to serve and sacrifice and submit in such a way that marriage comes the real, deep, lasting joy it is meant to be as it glorifies Jesus Christ.”

Question from Chrissy Petraitis, the author.

What rules do you and your spouse apply to fight fairly?

Written by Chrissy Petraitis

I'm experiencing the love of Jesus and sharing it with you! Check out my website: http://joshandchrissy.org

3 thoughts on “Fight Fair: Learning to Handle Conflict in Your Relationship

  1. I have been using this model in my friendships with others and it works!
    It is not just fixing my relationship but healing my heart putting me at peace. Because I know one thing the enemy uses our conflicts to afflict our hearts rob our peaces.
    Thanks for sharing this Chrissy 🙂

  2. I have been using this model in my friendships with other and it works!
    It is not fixing my relationship but healing my heart putting me at peace. Because I know one thing the enemy uses our conflicts to afflict our hearts rob our peaces.
    Thanks for sharing this Chrissy 🙂

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