Fighting Fair

By Matthew D. Turvey
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There's not necessarily any one right way to handle and resolve conflict – but, be assured that there are some mindsets, behaviors and attitudes you should avoid in this area of your marriage.

Conflict. For some spouses, it’s a way of life. For others, it’s a word they refuse to entertain.

We all bring different perspectives and biases to how we react to marital conflict. There’s not necessarily any one right way to handle and resolve conflict – but, be assured that there are some mindsets, behaviors and attitudes you should avoid in this area of your marriage.

In the following articles, we’ll examine healthy attitudes toward conflict resolution and begin to recognize that, in the final analysis, loving your spouse is a very real way to express your love for God. How we love our spouse has direct correlation to how we relate to and love our Creator.

First, we’ll look at the importance of fighting. Rather than avoiding conflict in marriage, we must embrace healthy conflict as a way to enjoy and love our spouse. Avoiding or denying the inevitable mix-ups of marriage only postpones having to really deal with them and grow through them.

Next, we’ll see that resolving conflict is a balancing act. By purposefully holding back honest communication, the silent partner in marriage can stunt the growth of the relationship. The opposite characteristic – being the overly dominant spouse – also has its pitfalls. By finding appropriate balance between these extremes, we create a better marriage. More importantly, these characteristics often carry over into our relationship with God.

Finally, we’ll examine the role of emotional and sexual intimacy in marriage. We honor God when we consistently resolve marital conflict without letting it build into resentment. Sexual intimacy, then, stems from emotional safety in marriage.

In the end, we can all do a bit better when it comes to resolving the conflict in our marriages. Hopefully it becomes clear that doing conflict a little bit better is a very real, very important way to honor God and express our love and devotion to Him. Let’s not forget the eternal significance of our closest personal relationship — marriage.

Copyright © 2008, Matthew D. Turvey. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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About the Author

Matthew D. Turvey

Matthew D. Turvey, Psy.D., LP, is the Director of Strategic Alliances for Life Innovations, a company specializing in marriage and family relationship assessment and enrichment. He is a licensed psychologist with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. Prior to joining Life Innovations, he held positions with the Smalley Relationship Center, MarriageToday and in private practice. He is the author …

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