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Episode 103 // Fighting fair, finding forgiveness, and handling conflict in your Christian marriage.

What are we talking about today?

Ah, conflict. It is no fun! And it can destroy our peaceful home, happy family life, and the witness of our Christian marriage.

As a marriage and family therapist, I have spent hundreds of hours helping couples work through conflict in all its various ways. So today, I’m outlining the 3 phases of conflict and looking at specific Bible passages that help us understand ways to handle those phases well.

Ways to fight fair, find resolution, and get back to happiness in our marriage.

Let’s dive in.

Listen to Episode 103:

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More resources for you!

If today’s topic is meaningful to you, these resources will give some additional support:

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Today's Episode Highlights

Conflict can look many different ways, but none of them are fun.

Whether it’s constant bickering, an occasional big fight, or anything in between, using biblical wisdom to handle the 3 phases of conflict will help.

Phase 1: The Build Up

This may happen slowly or quickly, but there is always a phase where the tension (conflict) is building. How can we  manage this phase in the most helpful way possible?

Learn from James 1:19-20.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (NIV)

What do we see here? Listen more than you speak, and take steps to calm down from high emotions. Don’t escalate the build-up.

Learn from Jesus’ humility in Philippians 2:1-11.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus… (v. 1-5)

Seek common ground and like-mindedness in your relationship, especially as tension is building! And interact with an attitude of humility, not selfish ambition, looking to your husband’s interests.

Phase 2: The Fight

The “fight” phase basically boils down to a period of time when it feels like (and might sound like) Me VS You. This might be a “you’re wrong, I’m right” argument. It might be yelling and slamming doors. It might be putting up walls of silence or pretending everything is fine. 

None of these are biblical ways of fighting. This is not fighting fair. 

What is? Turn to Colossians 3:1-17 for wisdom and guidance.

  • NOTICE: where is your heart? your mind? (verses 1-3)
  • AVOID: anger, cruel words, and lying. (v. 8-9)
  • FOCUS ON: kindness, compassion, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love, peace, the Word of God (verses 12-17)

Phase 3: The Aftermath

Three things are particularly helpful to resolve the conflict and move forward in your marriage. 

Confess your sins and mishandling of the conflict. (Yes, it will be there!)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

Forgive.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Reconcile and move forward.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Want more encouragement on this topic?

Check out these other episodes for more biblical encouragement and practical tips on this topic:

  • Episode 82 // How to enjoy a family vacation without sibling rivalry, family conflict, or a frustrated mama

  • Episode 66 // Should you “forgive and forget” within your marriage? A realistic look at forgiveness in Christian family relationships.

  • Episode 63 // Finding peace in your home & your life: 5 things that disrupt our peace, and practical steps to get it back

And don’t forget to grab a resource or two that will help you LOVE Christian family life!

Friday Faith Follow-up

1 Corinthians 13 is a classic passage on love. But what does it teach us about handling conflict in our marriage? How do we really live out the love that is described here?

Join me for a devotional look at this famous passage, as we seek to strengthen our Christian marriages through the wisdom and help of the Holy Spirit.

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Hugs & blessings to you, my friend! I’ll talk to you soon.

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A reminder of the Disclaimers & Disclosures Policy: I am an affiliate with many of the resources I recommend, which means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my provided links. I never recommend products I don’t love! Also, I am a licensed therapist but this podcast is not therapy. It is not professional or personal advice to your specific situation. Get info about professional counseling here.