June 21, 2013 Leave a comment
For a marriage to grow as a result of conflict—for healing to occur after conflict—we need to learn to move toward resolution. But some patterns just don’t do the job as well as we’d like.
What doesn’t work for healing resolution? For starters, withdrawing into yourself. I used to do this because it’s what I often saw my father doing. If you withdraw, however, you don’t get your needs met, your spouse’s needs don’t get met, and your relationship suffers. So withdrawing is not the solution. In fact, Dr. Scott Stanley says that the worst thing for a marriage is when the husband clams up and distances himself from the family.
Yielding—giving in—isn’t a satisfactory pattern either. While one person wins and therefore peace prevails for a season, the other person loses, and ultimately, the relationship also loses. If both partners don’t win, the relationship is weakened.
A third pattern? You could be the winner—the opposite of yielding. But again, one of you ends up a loser, so the relationship loses.
How about compromise? Isn’t that healthy? Sometimes you just don’t have time to resolve the issue right then, so you each settle for half a loaf. But remember that compromise is only a temporary solution because it’s still a win-lose situation for both of you and for your relationship. Postponing is okay, but if you don’t get back to the dispute, you lose a doorway to a deeper intimacy that we’ll discuss in a minute.
Smalley, G. (1996). Making love last forever. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.