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Do You Know How to Resolve Conflict Biblically?

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
When husbands and wives neglect marital communication, hurt and emotional distance replace intimacy.

Family Counseling Ministries -

The natural tendency of most marriage partners is to avoid conflict with each other. We shrink from the prospect of being emotionally wounded, and thus, few of us wish to “rock the marriage boat.” Choosing the path of least resistance, we opt for “peace at any cost.” This is a shallow sort of peace, however, and is not the kind of peace we read about in God’s Word.

In any marriage relationship, whether it is stagnant or growing, conflict will inevitably occur. When an offending spouse handles conflict in an unbiblical manner, he or she may justify his or her angry outburst with such thoughts as, “I had to say it. I can’t put up with this irritation any longer. At least I feel better now that I’ve gotten it off my chest.” The offended partner, on the other hand, may react defensively: “You’re one to talk. What about all of your quirks that I put up with?”

Retreat is another typical response. Many husbands and wives respond to their spouse’s anger with silence: “I just won’t say anything at all. It probably won’t do any good to answer since she never listens to me anyway.”


Gradually, deep hurt and a deafening absence of communication replace the openness and intimacy God intends for husbands and wives to enjoy. As they withdraw their spirits from one another, the resulting emotional distance robs them of their marvelous potential to bear spiritual fruit for God’s kingdom.


Men and women, who once covenanted before God to love each other with the kind of love described in I Corinthians 13, now erect walls of self-protection between themselves. Little by little, marriage partners begin to keep a detailed score of wrongs. Hope fades. Patience wears thin. They begin to take the liberty of treating one another rudely. A stubborn unwillingness to endure wrongs creeps into the relationship. Winning and having one’s own way become the prevailing goals for both partners.


Both spouses soon discover that they must continually expend vital spiritual and emotional energy in an ongoing, exhausting effort to protect themselves from one another.


Where he was once tenderhearted and vulnerable, he is now determined to guard himself from being hurt by his wife again. Where she once eagerly shared her heart with her husband, she now makes a calculated decision never to make that mistake again. Communication between them has died a painful death.

God instructs us very specifically in His Word, how to handle marital conflict resolution in such a way that glorifies Him and enhances the marriage relationship. Conflict can indeed be beneficial if we deal with it in the right way. Although rules exist that tell us how to fight fair and win, we do not know these rules in our natural minds. Yet, we can and must learn them if we desire to have a marriage that honors the Lord.



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