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How to Stop the Conflict Cycle


Wife on one side, husband on the other. Ready, set, go!

 

Only a few weeks after our wedding, my husband and I began competing in marriage tug-of-wars. We often butted heads on important decisions of housing or a new car…or any major purchase. We each wanted our way on trivial issues.

 

The correct loading of the toilet paper roll.

Which kitchen cabinet is best for drinking glasses.

Cooking a food dish like his mom or my mom.

Who gets which side of the bed to sleep on.

 

When small issues feel like a tug of war with your husband, any communication can feel like conflict. You end up feeling disconnected.

 

Can you relate to communication feeling like a battle in your marriage? When you feel alone on your side of the rope as a wife? Me too.

 

The aftermath of tugging, especially on certain issues, leaves a wife and husband wounded, tattered, and wondering if peaceful communication is possible. Still further, we are left with rope burns on our heart—painful in every way.

 

You see, I grew up with several step fathers and a step-mother. And I held a front-row-seat-ticket to marital tug-of-wars. No one modeled how to communicate or a marriage team concept. Yet, though my husband was raised with parents who stayed together until death parted them. He also came into our marriage tugging and tugging hard on his side of the rope.

    

Every wife and husband are two different people with unique childhood experiences, personal interests, and individual ideas on life and family issues (and proper toilet paper positioning). Much of our problem pointed to carrying past baggage that got in the way. 

 

When marriage is a tug-of-war, we sometimes attempt to do the work of the Holy Spirit, hoping our husband comes over to our side.

  

How can wives and husbands pull for the same team and stay on the same side of the rope? 

 

Communicate with the same blueprint in mind. Not just our master plan, but the Master’s plan. Proverbs 24:3, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established” (ESV). Approach each conversation with your husband by picturing you pulling together for the same purpose – to move closer together. Imagine you both pulling the rope on the same side. Think of communication as an opportunity to connect – and fight for the connection! Be willing to focus on the big picture of your marriage instead of the issue itself.

 

Wife step: No matter how many tug-of-wars you’ve endured and maybe lost, ask yourself this question when you notice a tug-of-war is about to ensue: Is this worth the rope burns?

 

What do you hope to improve on when it comes to conflict in your marriage?

Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader. As an award-winning writer and avid speaker, she loves words and God’s Word. For over a decade, she has balanced the busy life of church ministry with working from her home office in marketing where she is frequently referred to as Girl Friday. A blogger, Karen “Girl” Friday engages a community every week, Hope is Among Us. She has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media, and is currently working on her first book. Karen’s writing connects family life experiences, Christian ministry, and real life scenarios as women to the timeless truths of Scripture. Vulnerable about her own marriage journey, Karen knows life never gets more real than as a wife. Karen and her husband Mike have two grown children and a grandson. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Visit her blog at KarenGirlFriday.com.

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