Communication and Conflict

Focus on the Family Commentary

Episode

Lost in Translation

Good communication isn't as much about what you say as what someone actually hears. That's especially true in marriage. Jim Daly helps couples understand how to communicate in a way that their spouse will actually hear.

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husband compassionately holding wife's shoulders

Article

How to Care for 'Negative' Emotions in Your Marriage

Robert S. Paul

Emotions — even anger and hurt — have a purpose. These strong feelings need to be appropriately understood, valued and utilized so you can better care for yourself and know your spouse deeply.

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husband and wife discussing something in the kitchen; two children listen

Article

How Couples Can Agree on Parenting Issues

Robert S. Paul

Parenting disagreements strain even good marriages. The danger is letting differing perspectives wear down marital unity, especially if you side with the child’s desires instead of your spouse’s.

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man and woman holding hands on the ocean's shore

Article

'Submission' May Not Mean What You Think It Means

Robert S. Paul

One Scripture verse keeps couples at odds even though its intent is to teach unity. If you consider the context, culture and language in the book of Ephesians, you can better understand this verse.

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Man standing in kitchen with hands on his hips looking angry. A woman's hand in the foreground is positioned to hit a pause button

Article

A Simple Way to Stop an Argument Before It Gets Toxic

Bri McKoy

My husband and I stop arguments before they spiral downward. The pausehelps us remember that no one should tear apart what God brought together. The pause allows us to seek unending grace and mercy. 

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Photo composition of a man and a woman reflecting hurt and anger in their faces

Article

What Are You Really Fighting About?

Doug Fields with Jim Burns

Many couples don't realize that hurt feelings are really awakened fears. Understanding the way relational fear feeds recurring conflict is the key to breaking the cycle of hurtful arguments.

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couple relaxing and talking together on a couch

Article

Faith Conversation: In All You Say

Jaime Schreiner

When we try to follow the call to love unconditionally and reject sinful behavior, we need to watch our words carefully. This devotion will help you and your spouse explore speaking the truth in love.

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a man giving tulips to a cranky woman

Article

The Best Way to Properly Apologize to Your Spouse

Ted Cunningham

A thriving marriage requires two spouses who are good at giving apologies that reflect personal responsibility. A great marriage requires a husband and wife who are quick to apologize and forgive.

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man and woman in car having an argument

Article

What Do Couples Fight About? You'll Be Shocked by the Answer

Greg Smalley

All couples fight. And it feels as if we're fighting about something. But when we look at our conflicts, they can sound pretty insignificant. Big things don't ensnare us as often as the little things.

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An ilustration of a husband dressed as a superhero, carrying his wife. A spiral comes from his forehead as he attempts to read his wife’s mind.

Article

You Didn't Marry a Mind Reader: How to Communicate Your Expectations

Cindy Beall

I've yet to meet a married couple who didn't struggle with unspoken expectations. By learning to talk about expectations in your relationship, you can begin to establish a more satisfying marriage.

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serious husband and wife

Article

4 Steps to Deal With Conflict in Your Marriage

Deb DeArmond

Conflict is inevitable in marriage and can create damage or discovery — we choose which it will be. Discovery means learning new ideas, approaches and solutions if we fight together for our marriage.

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wife and husband looking out window

Article

The Lies Your Heart Believes Affect Your Marriage

Greg Smalley

Painful wounds can cause us to forget who God made us to be, and we start believing lies that affect what we think about ourselves and how we relate. That's especially true in how we relate to our spouse.

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arguing wife and husband

Article

Don't Let Your Spouse Make You Angry

Mike Bechtle

Marriages never thrive when we expect our spouse to be responsible for fixing our feelings. If we own our emotions, we're free to be co-owners of the relationship. Then we can build something great.

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married couple having disagreement

Article

Faith Conversation: Listen First, Speak Second

Melissa McNulty

Spouses can't always agree, but how they respond to disagreements can either strengthen or strain their marriage. Learning to listen first and speak second in emotionally charged discussions is important. 

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Illustration of a woodsy man sitting on a rock holding a chain saw while large bear looms in the background

Article

The Question That Helps Me Survive an Argument With My Wife

Gary Morland

Husbands and wives can turn everyday misunderstandings into all-out arguments. But maybe there's something else going on underneath disagreements: an unspoken, subconscious test. Of the husband.

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wife shaking fist at husband

Article

Dealing With Anger in Your Marriage

Erin Smalley

Marriage provides motivation to learn how to manage anger, which often stems from other emotions: hurt, fear or frustration. Here are some healthy ways to deal with anger in your marriage.

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Young couple sitting on front porch steps looking and each othe and smiling

Article

6 Tools for Healthy Communication in Marriage

Mike Bechtle

Couples often don’t have a lot of communication tools when they enter marriage. When conversations get tough, they may need better tools than they have. Here are some basic skills they’ll need.

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unhappy husband and wife back to back

Article

You Can Reduce Negative Reactions in Conflict

Milan Yerkovich and Kay Yerkovich

People often adopt a reaction to stress when they're kids, and the patterns continue into adulthood. But couples can learn to discuss nine points to deepen their understanding of each other.

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Illustration of framed family photos hanging on a wall

Article

How to Create Emotional Word Pictures

John Trent and Kari Trent-Stageberg

An emotional word picture is a tool that simultaneously activates the emotions and intellect of the listener. When you use a word picture to communicate, it can go straight into your spouse's heart.

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A husband comforts his teary wife

Article

Why You Should Apologize for Careless Words

Gary Chapman

Many husbands refuse to accept responsibility for careless words. When their behavior puts an emotional barrier between them and their wife, it's the husband's responsibility to remove the barrier.

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young couple talking

Article

Weigh Your Words

Jill Savage

When we control our tongues, we can build a healthy, nurturing marriage. Exercising self-control in the little things may even help strengthen us to overcome temptation in the bigger things.

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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Episode

Establishing Good Communication in Your Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Based on his book Honey, We Need to Talk, Dr. David Clarke explains how couples can strengthen their marriage by improving their communication skills. Discussion topics include typical communication styles of men and women, how men can be more intentional in initiating conversations, how to better navigate conflict, and more. (Part 2 of 2)

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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Episode

Establishing Good Communication in Your Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Based on his book Honey, We Need to Talk, Dr. David Clarke explains how couples can strengthen their marriage by improving their communication skills. Discussion topics include typical communication styles of men and women, how men can be more intentional in initiating conversations, how to better navigate conflict, and more. (Part 1 of 2)

Listen