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What if conflict is good?

Other non-sexual marriage issues.
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newwifenewlife
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What if conflict is good?

Post by newwifenewlife »

SC wrote about Chapman's "Incompatible Marriage" article and here's some things that have been rolling around in my mind that I heard with some of the issues I face or see here on TMB. I have believed for nearly 25 years that as difficult or stressful as conflict is, it can be a healthy thing in a relationship, especially in marriage. I didn't always feel that way but God has used some of life's difficult moments over the years, especially in ministry...and now my marriage, to grow me. Personally, this has created some interesting dynamics in my current marriage as I am a STRONG Melancholic with the rest being Choleric (or sometimes tested as nearly equally both and sometimes I swear I only have the negative traits of the temperaments! :roll: ). DW is a Phlegmatic with a second helping of Choleric for good measure, couple that with her PTSD from emotional abuse being previously married to a narcissist for 15 yrs and it can get "interesting". In other words, DW has been more than willing to people please and try to avoid any stress, tension & fighting at nearly all cost to her over the years...BUT now that she's understand that and experiencing continued emotional healing, when she's ready to go and throw down, I've discovered she is can mixed it up quite well with me. :shock: :oops: :lol: With that said, God is using my spectacularly awesome, and most of the time, :D kind and gracious wife to root out the unChristlike character issues in my personality and temperament that don't honor Him or enable me to model God's love and character to my family the way He's called me to...with one GLARING exception, modeling to my family how to behave poorly, apologize and ask for forgiveness for being an @#$. :roll: Hopefully, some day my wife will have the "perfect" husband, but until then, she's got me and gonna need to keep extending me grace as God uses her to teach me humility, service, being quick to listen and slow to speak and anger, mercy, forgiveness, joy in the little things, patience (especially under stress). I married a angel, although she swears her halo is tarnished and on crooked all the time. :lol:

Marriage can and will provide a lot of conflict because of the simple fact that the marriage of your dreams quite likely, is not the marriage of your spouse’s dreams. (That seems like reason enough for quality PRE-engagement counseling and trained, professional engagement counseling on difficult topics, not just planning a ceremony!!!). We come into marriage with different love languages, childhood baggage, expectations, there’s no way people can be in the same page sexually, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, maybe even politically? So why do we believe that things will just go smoothly? Why do we act surprised when people's tastes, likes & dislikes change as they age? At the same time, we all tend to have values we like, many of them good values that we highly esteem. At church, we have values and a mission and vision for our church and community and sometimes those things or ministries compete or clash with each other. All the values & ministries are good so it's not a matter of right and wrong, it's not a " black & white" answer. Instead, we have to ask how will we manage the tension of the values or ministries that are clashing or competing for resources? Marriage can be the same way. Parenting can be the same way.

So here's some things to ponder:
- What if God's design for marriage was more about character development than our comfort? How might that impact our view of problems in marriage?
- What if, when things are going wrong in your marriage and you have conflict, what if it really isn’t going wrong?
- What if there’s something else in mind and design for marriage and for you?
- What can & should a couple and/or individual do if changes are occurring that is creating tension?
- Can the tension/conflict be managed by grace and love OR...does and can it need to be challenged with boundaries and/or pressure?
- Why do we act like stress or pressure is bad if our spouse is wrong in their attitude or behavior? Maybe they need some pressure to address some issues? (Jesus brought tension and pressure to the religious leaders as needed.)
- When could tension, pressure or conflict be good for an individual? A marriage?
- Is there a "better way" to frame the conflict to help one other understand and respect the other person and value?
- What dynamic tensions of values do you find you and your spouse managing in your home? (IE - saving vs spending on experiences, providing for your child vs helping them understand the value of work and saving for something, financially providing for family vs emotional support and physical presence, accountability & consequences vs mercy, grace & forgiveness, etc.)
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hastentheday
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Re: What if conflict is good?

Post by hastentheday »

Yeah, it's hard to know that conflict is sometimes good when you are in the middle of it. Just recently, @threesacrowd and I had one of these such talks and I remember her saying, that was really good for us to get that out in the open and I feel so much better now. My problem is that I often repeat behaviors and attitudes a few weeks or months later that lead to the same conflict and that's tough on DW. I am trying to be more intentional and focused to make sure that I can avoid that behavior happening again in the future. That takes a constant, conscious effort, however, and is not easy, at least for me.
2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
Irnmyk
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Re: What if conflict is good?

Post by Irnmyk »

@NWNL,

As you were posting this thread, I was posting this reply in another thread:

viewtopic.php?f=80&t=3236&start=20

So, I won't repeat it here except that to say that our status as both being firstborns has produced plenty of conflict, but I never saw that as a bad thing.

It wasn't a damaging, destroying conflict, it was an "iron sharpening iron" type of conflict. (And that doesn't mean that the "Irn" in my username was doing the sharpening - we sharpened each other. She can be pretty hard too. I tell her so frequently. She AlWAYS responds "I had to be tough to survive being married to you". I never dispute that.

I believe, however, if viewed from the outside, our marriage would be considered a good one if not a model one.
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Re: What if conflict is good?

Post by SeekingChange »

Right now I will just give a general answer instead of focusing on the details of all your questions.

First, I am totally on the same page as you. I see how conflict can be a good thing, it's often the catalyst to growth and change. Nothing frustrates me more than people saying they want change but then hold onto their position of "peace at all cost".

I do think I am a little extra sensitive to this because 1) I am one of those personalities that used to thrive on some conflict....it can be a "safe way" to show emotion. And 2) I have lived with a husband who used to be very passive and was a "peace at all cost", which robs us of authenticity and honesty.

One thing our marriage therapist made sure we knew, was conflict isn't bad, and that you actually can get a greater intimacy through it.....if it's handled correctly.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years... and then she did something new.
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newwifenewlife
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Re: What if conflict is good?

Post by newwifenewlife »

SeekingChange wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:09 am First, I am totally on the same page as you. I see how conflict can be a good thing, it's often the catalyst to growth and change. Nothing frustrates me more than people saying they want change but then hold onto their position of "peace at all cost".

I do think I am a little extra sensitive to this because 1) I am one of those personalities that used to thrive on some conflict....it can be a "safe way" to show emotion. And 2) I have lived with a husband who used to be very passive and was a "peace at all cost", which robs us of authenticity and honesty.

One thing our marriage therapist made sure we knew, was conflict isn't bad, and that you actually can get a greater intimacy through it.....if it's handled correctly.
Ditto on a lot of that stuff SC! And that last phrase is a HUGE caveat…or at least in a Godly manner AFTER the milk has been spilt and you can put all the pieces back together. After DW & I go through something, we pinky swear & shake that we are committed to our marriage and take one day at a time, even if there’s still the emotions & hurt to process and work through.
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Re: What if conflict is good?

Post by David »

Interestingly, one of the marriage books I've got suggests that couples should have an argument at least once a week!
IIRC the reasoning is something along the lines of couples who don't argue don't not have disagreements, they just don't deal with them. Over time, this leads to anger and resentment.

How many threads on here are the result of a husband and wife disagreeing about something but not talking about it until it's been going on for so long that it damages the relationship?
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newwifenewlife
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Re: What if conflict is good?

Post by newwifenewlife »

David wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:23 am Interestingly, one of the marriage books I've got suggests that couples should have an argument at least once a week!
Interesting idea. Which begs the question, have couples defined what an "argument" or "fight" is and "rules for engagement" when tensions rise? Also, what is your family's history of handling conflict?

DW's family denied it or shut it down without resolution, never to be spoken of again. DW used to say we fought every wknd for a period of time in our first year of marriage. I'm like "fight/argue", huh? What are you talking about? She's phlegmatic so any stress, tension or distance (for whatever reason) felt like a fight to her, even her daughters, might say to DW or I, "You are yelling(ed) at us, when voices were never raised; whereas, I was like, "What are you talking about? I never yelled. Can't we disagree and feel some tension because of it and still be ok?"
IIRC the reasoning is something along the lines of couples who don't argue don't not have disagreements, they just don't deal with them. Over time, this leads to anger and resentment.

How many threads on here are the result of a husband and wife disagreeing about something but not talking about it until it's been going on for so long that it damages the relationship?
So true. The longer a marriage and conflict isn't addressed, the harder and more effort and energy it takes to address the issue, kind of like turning a 12 ft boat vs a yacht vs a cruise ship or aircraft carrier.
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Re: What if conflict is good?

Post by Tracker »

What if conflict is good?

It appears the real issue is not that conflict is good or bad rather what the conflict hinges on, as well as how does a couple handle them. One could say this series of post question responses hard wired to the incompatible marriage post. The reason marriages are incompatible is conflicts!

To be confrontative if conflict was good why incompatible marriages?

And the replies here seem to suggest embracing conflicts. Approaching them for a change for the better. Cool. A lot of what ifs in this post and the incompatible marriage series are or may not be true for many of us. Can not as yet get even close to embracing gods grace is what keeps us together and differences and conflicts build in us humility. Humlity building is good when there are good feelings about such ? When not the whole facade falls apart!

Frankly have not seen any significant personal conflicts ever lead to any good thing at home or work ever. Minor conflicts another story. Easier to harmonize and humilityize.

The posts here paint an uplifting and positive view of marriage as conflicts just part of the process and praise God. The thrusts are we can do it and live happy ever after with humility and acceptance and understanding and glory to god. Lot of saints out here apparently. Or is there?

Take the passive aggressive person, yes, they are in the pews each Sunday too. They do not embrace any of the precepts listed here in. And are hard wired to not do so!

My take away is serious conflicts have never been good in the first place and few are resolved for that very fact. The guilty and they are at least one or more do not have the innate self awareness to know them selves and their partner and what Christ requires of them in a relationship. So no cigar!
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