We had the Session 3 of the Marriage Course on last Wednesday. In this session we learned about Resolving Conflict. The following is a short extract of what the participants had gone through.
Some conflicts are inevitable in marriage. We have different opinions and we are naturally selfish. When we fail to handle anger properly it can cause conflict. Some people are like rhinos, they attack when provoked. Whereas, some are like hedgehogs, they withdraw when threatened. In any case, unresolved conflict leads to ‘trench warfare’ There are four principles for handling conflict.
1. Expressing our appreciation of each other. Make this a daily discipline and be thankful for what your partner does. Be appreciative for who your partner is. Participants are asked to write down six things that they appreciate about their husband or wife and then share their notes. In this way, husband and wife experience something positive out of the conversation.
2. Recognizing our differences. Husband and wife each has differences of temperament, personality, background and expectations. So, there is no need to change each other but rather seek to complement each other. Look for each other’s strengths and support each other’s weaknesses. Participants were given an exercise to discover their differences and then discuss on an issue where their differences can be a source of strength for their relationship.
3. Negotiating areas of conflict. To resolve conflict it is important to negotiate rather than attack, surrender or bargain. The six steps to peace are: (1) Find the best time (the 10 o’clock rule) (2) identify the issue (3) discuss the issue rather than attacking each other (4) Work out the possible solutions (5) decide on the best solution for the relationship and see if it works and (6) be prepared to re-evaluate. In this slot the participants were given the time to do an exercise ‘Changing our behavior’. It is a very helpful exercise for couples to discover their areas of conflict and practice using the proper method to solve
4. Learning to pray together. Through praying for our partner we put God at the centre. When we expect our partner to meet all our needs, we inevitably fail each other and get hurt. Only God can meet all our needs. Praying together as a couple will strengthen and sustain a marriage relationship over a lifetime and build intimacy. Christian marriage involves a couple seeking God’s will together. The couple that pray together will always stick together.