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Conflict — A Perfect 10 Marriage Meditation

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a young woman and man sit back to back after an argument
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The sign of a healthy marriage is not the absence of conflict, but the love and respect shown amid the conflict.

Getting Started

  • Read today’s marriage devotion.
  • Share today’s question with your spouse.

Today’s Video

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Today’s Devotion

On a scale of one to 10 — with 10 being the highest — where do you rate your marriage?

We all want a perfect 10. But can two imperfect people have a perfect 10 marriage?

During the recent Perfect 10 Marriage event, Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley — authors, counselors and Focus on the Family’s marriage experts — invited couples from around the world to share how they’re working toward a perfect 10 marriage.

The “Perfect 10” couples talked about five major challenges all marriages face … and what they’re doing to overcome those challenges.

The five challenges include:

  • Communication
  • Time Together
  • Shared Responsibility
  • Conflict
  • Intimacy

To help you work through these challenges in your marriage, Focus on the Family has created a series of devotionals to address each issue and offer Bible-based tips for you and your spouse.

TODAY’S TOPIC: CONFLICT

Conflict in marriage is inevitable. At some point, you and your spouse will disagree. What’s the right way to manage conflict in your marriage? The Bible offers several answers. Take a look.

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Scripture Reading

  • Ephesians 4:31-32 — “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11— “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
  • Proverbs 15:1 — “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Meditation

The old joke goes that Adam started working late after God sent him away from the Garden of Eden. Eve became suspicious and confronted him. “There’s another woman! I know it!”

“Another woman?” Adam was puzzled. “You’re the only woman in the world.”

Eve wasn’t satisfied. She glared at Adam and then walked away to make dinner. That night, Adam and Eve ate in silence. When he was done, Adam looked at Eve and said, “I promise you, you’re the only woman in the world.” With that, he headed to the bedroom and soon fell fast asleep. An hour later, he was awakened by Eve poking his chest. “What on earth!” he said. “Why are you poking me?”

Eve poked him in the chest once more. “I’m counting your ribs to see if you’re lying.”

All joking aside, conflict is a challenge every couple will face in their marriage. Sometimes couples disagree on the big things — like cars, houses and investments. At other times, couples disagree on the day-to-day details — what to make for dinner, how much to spend on personal items or who takes the kids to school next week. Conflict happens. But what you do with that conflict will make or break your marriage.

Focus on the Family marriage expert Dr. Greg Smalley says it this way: “The sign of a healthy marriage is not the absence of conflict, but the love and respect with which you manage differences amid the conflict.”

What is the right way to manage conflict in your marriage? Here’s what the Bible says in Ephesians 4:31-32: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

The Bible also exposes the reason for fights and disagreements: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1). Selfish desires are often the root cause of many arguments.

How should you respond to your spouse when you’re dealing with conflict? 1 Thessalonians 5:11 explains what God desires: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

Anger is an easy way out of conflict. God offers an alternative. That doesn’t mean God’s way is easy, but it does mean He wants to help you and your spouse work through conflict and build a marriage based on love and respect.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, when passions are high and conflict rages, remind us to look to You for peace. Amen.

Today’s Question

How will you choose to respond to your spouse when tempers flare and conflict seems inevitable?

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