When it comes to conflict in my marriage, I will be honest and tell you that our first several years of marriage were rough. My sweet husband was very conflict-avoidant and felt like every argument was the beginning of the end. I, on the other hand, was the exact opposite. I had no problem running head-on into conflict and was known to start much of it.
For him, conflict meant there was a problem for him to fix or peace he needed to restore at all costs. For me, conflict was way more normal than it should be. Conflict meant to defend yourself at all costs.
As a result, his go-to strategy was to avoid it. After all, as far as he was concerned, conflict was terrible. If he had to bend over backward for me, keep his feelings, thoughts, and opinions to himself, then so be it. The problem with this was that things never got resolved. He lost his voice and therefore grew resentment towards me, and he fed the right fighting, defensive monster in me too.
My go-to strategy was a whole lot of yelling and right fighting. I took even the slightest disagreements as a threat. I would yell to be heard and stop at nothing to prove my rightness to him.
Ultimately, we were both trying to stay safe, and we had entirely different methods to do so. Worst of all, neither of our conflict strategy methods worked! They set us backward instead of moving us forward to healing and repair.
When you seek to avoid conflict, you must make yourself smaller. You lose your voice, respect, and the opportunity to grow personally and heal the problems in your marriage. This isn’t good because your opinions and thoughts matter. They are meant to be expressed and to help your spouse grow too.
When you live your life as a ticking time bomb, that’s miserable too. I thought I could only be heard if I was yelling. But the truth was, that was when I was listened to the least! My yelling pushed my husband away, and it also caused me to feel helpless and hopeless, and I lived with the shame of losing my temper all the time.
While our relationship sounds extreme, I’m here to tell you, as Christian Marriage Counselors; we see A LOT of these couples. We were way more societally normal back then than we are today.
Our early marriage may have been tough, but it isn’t today. There are much better ways to have conflict. You also want occasional conflict because it is good for your marriage, you just want to have it the healthy way instead!
What works best for us is something we want to share with you too. It’s what we call the L.O.V.E Conflict strategy. You can find out more and let us walk you through it by clicking this link to our L.O.V.E. Your Way Through Conflict course.
Feel free to use discount code EXPEDITION for 10% off. Let us help you change the way you have conflict today!