Disagree to agree

For relationships to get better, there must be healthy conflicts between couples

The Bible

Bible verse for today: Ephesians 4:15"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ" (NIV).

No relationship is ever perfect, it can only get better. And for relationships to get better, there must be healthy conflicts between couples. Talking about your problems and talking about the source of your problems are two different things.

While one may lead to tension and exchange of angry words, the other helps in understanding the motives and actions of your partner better after the truth has been laid bare.

The Word for Today devotional by United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) says:

Even in a great relationship, you will have disagreements. That’s why you need to learn to fight fair. Paul addresses it this way: ‘…speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…’ If you grew up in a home filled with tension and angry words, you may find yourself trying to avoid arguments at any cost. But silence doesn’t solve problems; it just allows them to become unspoken wedges between you. What should you do? First, try to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict. In an unstable marriage, hostility is aimed at your spouse’s soft underbelly with comments like, ‘You never do anything right!’ and ‘Why did I marry you in the first place?’ and ‘You’re getting more like your mother every day!’ Such remarks strike at the very heart of your mate’s self-worth.

Healthy conflict, by contrast, remains focused on the issues that cause disagreement. For example: ‘It upsets me when you don’t tell me you’re going to be late for dinner,’ or ‘I was embarrassed when you made me look foolish at the party last night.’ Can you hear the difference? Even though the two approaches may be equally contentious, the first assaults the dignity of your spouse while the second addresses the source of conflict. When you learn to make this important distinction, you can work through your disagreements without wounding and insulting each other. Plus, when gaining the upper hand leaves your spouse feeling wounded and upset, you both lose. Remember: when someone feels loved and valued, they’re generally more open and receptive to what you have to say.

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