Dr Joyce Brothers once joked, ‘My husband and I have never considered divorce… sometimes murder, but never divorce!’ Getting married is easy; living together successfully is hard. So how do you do it? By identifying issues that must be resolved, working on them, and learning to live with the rest! Snoring, endless hours of watching tv, not communicating, dirty socks on the floor, unmade beds—your partner’s habits can drive you crazy. And since Jesus said, ‘Let no one split apart what God has joined together’ (Matthew 19:6 NLT), how should you handle conflicts when they arise?
(1) Attack the problem instead of each other.
(2) Keep your voice low, stay calm, and your partner is more likely to pay attention.
(3) Choose the best time to address the issue, not when the kids are hungry or you’re both tired.
(4) Remember, men and women see things differently. So, when your spouse expresses their point of view, don’t sigh and roll your eyes. What marriage therapists refer to as ‘active listening’, calls for affirming your spouse through paraphrasing, validation, and positive feedback.
(5) There’ll be times when each of you will have to compromise.
(6) Choose your words carefully. ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up.’ (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) ‘Encourage one another.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV) ‘Forgiving one another.’ (Ephesians 4:32 NLT) ‘Pray for each other.’ (James 5:16 NIV) ‘Spur one another on towards love and good deeds.’ (Hebrews 10:24 NIV) ‘Carry each other’s burdens.’ (Galatians 6:2 NIV) ‘Giving preference to one another.’ (Romans 12:10 NKJV)
Now work on your marriage!