Two loving people enter into a marriage relationship because of a genuine love relationship. They have a goal of making each other happy as they promise each other to love and to cherish. That done, does not mean there will be a smooth road ahead. Let us hear what God says through the Apostle Paul about the solution to marriage conflict:
Eph 5:22 Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it;
Eph 5:26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word,
Eph 5:27 that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Above is the solution to marriage conflicts. But before dealing with the above solution, let me highlight the following.
Marriage conflicts are inevitable
What do I mean by that? I mean that every active marriage relationship will have some conflicts, meaning differences of opinion or viewpoints. In a passive love relationship there is withdrawal by one marriage partner. It may be the husband or the wife. This is not a healthy relationship because it means that one partner is withholding or suppressing some feelings. This is dangerous because it is like a person who eats but does not go to the toilet to relieve himself. What do you expect to happen in that case? As a result marriages were not that happy ones. There were long- term resentments. Women especially, felt inferior and treated like children. But that was not God’s intention.
Many years ago the culture of some societies dictated that as much as a husband and wife wanted an amicable solution in a conflict, it was difficult most of the time. The easy way out was for man to make a decision and the wife would simply obey. This was mostly influenced by how decisions were made in other areas of life. Men dominated and controlled everything in society. However, in recent years there has been a significant change in many cultures due to the introduction of rights and equality in all areas of life including the marriage institution. That is why there is a lot of divorces and unwillingness to get married by some today. Each spouse has got his or her way of pursuing happiness in the marriage, which results in conflicts as happiness is no where to be found with such attitudes. If one does not find happiness his or her way, that partner opts to move out of the marriage in pursuit of happiness, independence and exercise of rights. This does not mean there should be no rights for each partner. They are important and should be respected.
Commitment to a common goal
Marriage conflicts can be solved amicably even though it is not that easy. Above we read a scripture, which is God’s prescription to marriage challenges. Let us acknowledge that as partners in a marriage relationship, we have different roles to play or functions and needs. As long as each partner plays his or her part conflicts will be minimized. Dominating each other as it was done by some long time ago did not bring a solution, but suppression. Too much emphasis on equality and rights this days has also not brought a solution but lots of divorces and single parenting thus resulting in weak foundations for children.
The roles and needs
A husband needs to be respected. It should not be difficult to respect a man even if you do not agree with him. A real man does not have a problem listening to your point of view as a woman. He also needs a woman who will allow him to lead in the family as mandated by God. So when resisted for a long time, he either withdraws, becomes violent or gets out of the marriage. His duty to the wife is to love and cherish her as Christ loves and gave Himself for His bride the Church.
A wife needs to be loved, cherished and understood. When ever she speaks, she does it out of her feelings. As a husband you need to get that if you want a lasting marriage. Love expresses itself by giving. Give love to your wife. Take care of her needs. When loved, a wife does not have a problem carrying out her duties or responsibilities. That is natural to her. She gives her all when loved. So your duty and responsibility as a wife is to respect and submit to your husband. If you do that, your husband will love, protect, feed, and take proper care of you. But if you hurt his ego, there will be trouble in the marriage and it will quickly manifest itself in your home. Most men have a problem with hiding how they feel.
Any good solution to a marriage conflict should result in the growth of the love relationship. There should be no unresolved issues in the marriage because such results in long- term resentment. That is not the right way to live. There must be a win/win solution and it is possible. A marriage relationship is not the same as politics where each party’s goal is to defeat the other. In politics there is never a promise to take good care and cherish each other as parties. However, in a marriage institution spouses were joined by love and good promises. There was a promise to take care of each other in both good and bad times. So there must be a common goal which unifies the marriage. There must be a will from each other to make the marriage work. As a couple, you are not competitors. You are differently made, you have different roles.
Willingness to understand each others perspective
Love for each other in the marriage relationship is key. That should drive each partner to be willing to understand the other’s viewpoint. A partner must be willing to listen. Each spouse should drop selfishness. Driven by love and desire to make each other happy will result in an amicable solution in any conflict. With positive motives you will find that differences just fall away. As a result a couple grows in loving each other. Once the key problem has been identified, it becomes easier to deal with the real problem. Dealing with symptoms of a problem does not resolve the conflict.
May I conclude by saying that a rewarding love relationship is possible. The love partners need to be both objective about an issue of conflict and be willing to solve it. You have different needs and roles as husband and wife. Let each stick to his or her God-given roles and what you need will automatically happen. The fact that there is a conflict, it shows that you are different. You see issues from different angles. Let us use those angles to clearly see an issue and then make a good decision. Do not compete because you are lovers not competitors.