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Don’t Be Conflicted Over Conflicts

By:  Donna Martin

Based on the behavior of many Americans over the course of the election it makes me wonder if the breakdown of politeness, self-control, love, and restraint among our citizens is in direct correlation with the breakdown of the family unit in our country.

In families, just as in politics, it is normal to have conflicts and disagreements.  However, people need to learn to disagree without being disagreeable.  If conflicts are handled properly, they can often strengthen relationships, but when people fight unfairly relationships are torn apart. 

Here are some tips for fighting fairly so that your conflicts can bring you and your spouse closer instead of tearing your marriage apart.  These tips are also helpful for any conflict you may have. 

1.  Think before you speak.   James 1:19 tells us, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”  (NIV)  Ask yourself if what you are about to say will help the situation or make it worse.

2.  State your position without insulting the other person.  Hurling insults only makes matters worse and words spoken cannot be taken back.  Attack the problem not the person.

3.   Use “I” words like “I feel” or “I need”.  Do not use words like “you always” or “you never.”

4.  Listen to the other person.  Try to see things from his or her perspective.  You do not have to agree with the other person’s perspective.

5.   Stay calm, do not yell, scream, or cry.

6.  Be respectful to the other person.

7.  Apologize for the part you played in the conflict.

It is important to stand up for our beliefs and values.  However, our words must “be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

Strong marriages don’t just happen when people fall in love.  Marriages grow stronger when couples work together with respect and commitment and grow in love.   Don’t throw away your marriage by running from conflicts.  Your children need for you to build a strong marriage.  Don’t let them down.

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:14-16 (NIV)

The Martins are available to present “Happy Together” Marriage Enrichment Events for churches and organizations.  To schedule an event call Michael at 940-735-1515. They are certified “Prepare/Enrich” Facilitators and are available to work with couples on an individual basis using the “Prepare/Enrich Assessment.”  They publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at

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