Many people base their idea of romance on the fairy tales or whatever else Hollywood has drummed up. After an initial phase of getting to know one another and dealing with bad first impressions, the on-screen couple ends up loving one another with minimal to no conflict.

Or if there is conflict, the antagonist is somebody else aiming to ruin the romance (e.g. jilted ex-lover, overbearing parent, or jealous friend), not the romantic partners themselves. Unfortunately, such is only in the movies.

In real life, conflict is something that always exists. But instead of always being a reason for separation, it can become something that improves the marriage, if the couple knows how to properly make use of it.

Marriage Advice for Conflict Resolution

Here is some helpful marriage advice about conflict to strengthen the relationship.

1. Do not run from conflict. Deal with it before things get worse.

Whether we like it or not, a conflict-free marriage is impossible as each spouse has their own likes, dislikes, and opinions on various topics in life. Nevertheless, some spouses tend to run from conflict because they wrongly believe that marriage is about avoiding it as much as possible. However, this is far from the truth.

Rather than running from potential clashes with their partner, spouses ought to confront such issues so that they can grow together as a couple. If done early enough, the issue that is bothering them – big or small – can be resolved before it becomes something worse.

For example, some months into the marriage, a spouse may realize that their partner is not as neat as they thought they were when they were still going out. Socks might be placed in the wrong area; wet towels may be left on the seats; the lights may always be left on.

Though minor issues, these annoyances may start to build up until one day the spouse snaps, creating a much bigger problem. And of course, the situation becomes even more troublesome for major issues such as mismanagement of money, lack of time for one another, or constant flirting.

So rather than sweeping these transgressions under the rug, it is best to deal with them head on. And if discussed properly, solutions can be found before the problems snowball into something that can seriously ruin the marriage.

2. Always remember that you are a team.

Every team – be it on the field, in the classroom, or the office – deals with some form of conflict. But a good team knows that if they work past such conflict together then they will become stronger and more unified.

Spouses need to remember the same thing. When they said their “I do’s,” they made a commitment to be a team for a lifetime. Conflict should not be a reason to break this special alliance.

However, working together does not mean that the two of you always have to agree. As individuals, each spouse should still be able to voice their thoughts. But as teammates for a lifetime, they should always prioritize their partnership and not allow differences to drive a deep wedge between them. Instead of aiming to defend their ego, they should instead be thinking of ways to find common ground and maintain respect for one another.

Although such thinking may take time to absorb, once it becomes clear, working together despite existing conflicts will become easier to do.

3. Establish an atmosphere of respect. 

Since conflict is inevitable, respecting one’s spouse does not mean avoiding fights; it means handling the fight properly.

Sadly, some spouses treat every battle as something that must be won at all costs. But while this might be necessary for some areas of life (e.g. fending off home invaders, negotiating a crucial business deal), it should not be the mindset one has when dealing with their spouse, regardless of the issue.

Rather than seeking to bring their partner down, spouses should just focus on the problem at hand and find solutions. There is no need for name-calling, yelling, or physically hurting one another just to drive home a point.

Again, their spouse is the one that they once declared from the heart that they would protect for life. This is the person they decided to raise a family with and with whom to spend the best part of their lives until they die. Spouses need to remember that promise and the attitude of love and respect implied in that promise and treat their partner with such respect, even if they happen to disagree on certain issues.

4. Take responsibility for your mistakes.

Something that almost everybody finds irritating is when the person they are dealing with is not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes (unless said person is just a toddler). When handling issues, almost everybody hates hearing excuses, especially lame ones, about why things have gone sour. As married adults with big responsibilities, it is important to own up to one’s mistakes and then find ways to repair them.

The problem is almost always pride. Although a person might understand that the sin is truly theirs, it can be difficult for them to publicly accept the blame, especially if they do not like how their partner looks at them or speaks to them because of it. In their view, publicly admitting that they are wrong will just cement the “fact” that they are an imbecile in the minds of their spouse and children.

However, passing off the blame or ignoring that there is a problem in the first place makes the errant person look even worse. If a person wishes to be a confident, strong spouse, they must be willing to live up to the proper standards for the sake of the family, which includes humbly recognizing their fault and then searching for a solution. If they can continuously model such responsible behavior, they will then earn the respect of their family members, in spite of occasional mistakes.

5. Be open and teachable.

Although nobody is perfect, everybody should still strive for perfection. So for spouses, this means being open to constructive criticism and being willing to change for the better.

Unfortunately, a person often reacts negatively to criticism from his or her spouse. They may have learned such an attitude from observing their parents’ relationship, where criticism just led to arguments. Or perhaps spouses may be holding onto the idea that their partner is supposed to accept their behavior, no matter how unacceptable it may be.

Ironically, had such criticism come from a friend, the person may have actually listened more intently and seriously considered the merits of what was said. But since it came from their spouse, they treat it as “nagging,” which only serves to widen the gap between them.

Returning to the concept of team, a spouse needs to remain open and teachable, knowing that any individual improvements that are made mean that the team becomes stronger in the long run. Spouses must remember that their imperfections prevent them from seeing everything around them. Rather than reacting negatively right away, they ought to consider first their partner’s perspective and make the necessary adjustments.

6. Take time to examine yourself. 

Problems in marriage are not always the partner’s fault. So rather than always contemplating what one’s spouse needs to change to become better, a person ought to consider what must be done to improve themselves first.

A person who wishes to become a better marriage partner ought to ask themselves questions like: Am I the marriage partner I envisioned myself to be? Does my spouse feel loved? Do my children feel loved? How can I become a better spouse, parent, and provider? What can I do to better balance my time? What else can I do to help my family?

Seriously reflecting upon such questions will allow a person to see what needs to be done to improve themselves. In fact, they might finally understand what their partner has been trying to tell them all along.

Pursuing self-improvement, even if one’s spouse is not doing the same, will allow the person to grow and mature, and in doing so, they will gain the respect of their spouse who then might decide to improve as well.

7. Communicate honestly and openly. 

Lack of open and honest communication is a big roadblock to a harmonious relationship. However, this can be difficult to achieve since most people naturally wish to protect themselves.

Emotional intimacy can be quite scary as it allows oneself to be open to rejection. So rather than showing their true selves, people choose to present just a part of who they are, hiding what they believe their loved one may criticize or reject.

But love requires honesty, even if it leaves a person vulnerable. If spouses are able to let down their defenses and communicate from the heart, then their trust and appreciation of one another will become stronger, helping them to overcome any conflict in their relationship.

8. Have a healthy internal world.

Because some spouses are constantly seeking validation from their partner, conflicts can disrupt the couple’s love for each other. If their partner is happy, then the person feels safe and loved. If their partner is disappointed, sad, or angry, then the person feels unwanted.

Unfortunately, tying one’s self-worth to somebody else leaves one very vulnerable to self-doubt and much pain. When this happens, the person’s heart takes them on an emotional roller coaster where they experience some highs, but many more lows.

Since how they react to the lows may affect how their partner reacts to them, they can find themselves in a vicious cycle where the spouse may eventually believe that they are not really loved, tempting them to something more serious such as adultery, domestic abuse, or separation.

In order to counteract this, the spouse needs to have a healthy internal world. They need to understand that their identity is in Christ, regardless of their partner’s current emotional state. If this can be done, then it will be easier to just focus on the problem at hand during conflicts instead of reacting to their partner’s emotions.

Christian Counseling for Marital Conflict

For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. – Mark 10:7-9

As imperfect people in an imperfect world, conflict resolution is a necessary skill, especially in marriage. This is why couples need to be proactive in seeking ways to deal with their problems without destroying their love and respect for one another. If they are able to understand that they are a team and that resolving problems together will make them stronger individually and as a couple, then this can be done.

Unfortunately, some spouses find that they have already reached the limit of their patience. As far as their heart is concerned, they are already on the brink of giving up all hope of happiness with their spouse and seek love elsewhere instead. If this is the case, then Christian counseling for marital conflict is needed.

With the Christian counselor acting as an impartial referee, chances are that the spouses will finally be able to share what is bothering them about their union. In a neutral environment, it is much easier to share the inner pain, knowing that there is a counselor who is guiding the discussion and giving valuable input.

And in cases where a mental disorder or a past event (e.g. traumatic childhood) is preventing a spouse from fulfilling their marital duties, the trained Christian counselor will be able to use the latest in therapeutic techniques to get to the root of the problem, allowing for personal healing which will ultimately help the relationship.

But most importantly, the faith-based counselor will remind the couple about the love and mercy of God through prayer and meditation on Holy Scripture. This can help those dealing with self-worth issues to realize that they are complete if they are in Christ.

Moreover, the couple will be reminded about their duties as husband and wife and how God wants all marriages to succeed. Marriages are a solemn covenant made in the presence of God, Himself. Couples will be reminded of the seriousness of their marital promise and there will be more urgency to repair what is broken.

If you or a friend is looking for marriage advice or having difficulty dealing with marital conflict, get help soon. It is only through God’s grace that a marriage can ever hope to succeed.

“Argument”, Courtesy of RyanMcGuire,, CC0 License; “Conversation”, courtesy of Christin Hume,; CC0 License; “Planning,” courtesy of Pedro Ribeiro Simões, Flickr Creative Commons, CC0 License; “Enchanted,” courtesy of Annette Sousa,, CC0 Public Domain License


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