Dealing with Conflict in Your Relationship

June 15th, 2010 by azweddingpastors Leave a reply »

One of the stimulating aspects of living in the age of information is the stream of diverse statements and ideas that pour over us through the media. If you enjoy variety just watch, read or listen for a while and you’ll encounter a broad spectrum of ideas! One statement that I’ve heard repeatedly in various ways is that aside from plumbing, there really is no substantial difference between men and women. While I’m all for gender equality in society and the work place this statement’s ubiquitous error transcends common sense. How is it that highly educated people embrace such obvious error?! Ask any school-yard child and they’ll confess that the opposite sex is WAY different–“Girls are weird!; Boys are dumb!” Maybe the singing group Smash Mouth got it right by summarizing the intellectual change from child to adult as “Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb [i]”  The fact is there are great differences between men and women which dating and married couples quickly realize as the guy and gal processing the same data or encountering the same situation frequently arrive at very different conclusions about what to do.

I saw this first-hand early in my own marriage. After being married about seven years and producing three offspring, my wife and I plus our pre-school children were doing missionary work in an obscure location on one of the islands in the Philippines. We were progressing in our study of the language and learning about the culture but something less than obvious was brewing under the surface. As we discussed the intangible tension that had been developing between us we realized that we were clashing due to our gender-based perceptions of what we were living through and how we individually thought we should respond to it. As we discussed the facts of our situation and our feelings-both of which are relevant in a relationship-we concluded that we were at a relational crossroad. We could either continue to minimize our mates’ perspective and grow apart or we could draw out our partners’ point of view and combine it with our own and have a much fuller and clearer outlook on the situation. Men and women are amazingly different but when they work together they can enjoy a synergy of wisdom and vision that individually would be impossible to create.

An ancient phrase that applies to nations and relationships is “Pray for peace but prepare for war”. While we all want to enjoy the comfort of a close, harmonious relationship with our mate this “peace” is frequently achieved through conflict. You and your partner are different so living and working together will, at times, lead to conflict! That is why one of the most needed- but frequently avoided- skills for a married couple is the ability to resolve conflict. As a counselor, one of the most satisfying experiences is helping a conflicted couple learn how to effectively verbalize their needs and work with their partner to arrive at mutually acceptable goals. Some of us naturally avoid conflict fearing the chaos that a verbal disagreement will involve. A more accurate and empowering perspective is that conflict is inevitable when two different personalities come together. If you’ll invest some time in acquiring the skills to have a constructive “fight” you’ll be able to work through your differences and enjoy a new degree of oneness! A good place to start is the book “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” by Les and Leslie Parrott.  Chapter Six asks and answers the question “Do You Know How to Fight a Good Fight?” It emphasizes how to resolve conflict in your relationship.[ii] Another option is to call Arizona Wedding Pastors and schedule a time to visit with one of our Officiants. We would be happy to assist you in working through your relationship challenges and customize a strategy to strengthen you! Our goal is to help you turn “I Do” into “Happily Ever After”.

Call us at 623-606-8909 or visit us at

[i]Allstar” by Smash Mouth as performed on Shrek©




  1. Mark Grisham says:

    I really enjoyed your blog and I appreciate the views and insight. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Cheryl Crouse says:

    I’ve read through several of your blogs and really enjoyed them. God has healed our marriage of some major addictions this last year–we were ready to divorce. The addictions have left a lot of damage, but God is healing the lack of trust. We are learning to communicate in new ways. I never knew before that men considered working hard side by side all day was bonding–although nothing had been said. Women would never consider that bonding unless something on the gut level had been shared. But when I know that my husband is helping me because I really need his help, and know that he considers that bonding with me, I can accept it with a whole different perspective–and ask him to share at a gut level another time–after I’ve thanked him profusely for his help.

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