4 things I learned about conflict from successful couples that revolutionized my marriage

Number 3 shocked me.

I’m excited to welcome my friend Jamie Slingerland as a contributor to the blog. Jamie is Associate Coach at View From the Top who focuses on helping younger men enjoy success and significance in their personal, professional, and spiritual lives.

A dedicated husband of thirteen years, to Ruthie, and father of four young children, Jamie knows the struggles and responsibilities of owning a home-based business while at the same time committing to not watering down the quality of interactions with the people who matter most, his family. Having pulled themselves out of almost $90,000 in debt and a burn-out lifestyle, Jamie and his family now enjoy spending time learning together through homeschooling and traveling the country. Please join me in welcoming Jamie to Confessions of a Terrible Husband!

4 things i learned about conflict that revolutionized my marriageDo you feel bad when you and your spouse have conflict?

Does it take days for you to air out the room after a bitter war of words?

If so, you’re not alone. For years I thought the ideal marriage had zero conflict.

No disagreements.No arguments. Ever.

So when my wife and I argued it made me feel like a big fat failure.

And feeling like a big fat failure made me say some pretty dumb things and, ultimately, hurt some feelings.

After the emotions died down I’d replay the argument in my head and end up with hurt feelings myself.

We both felt disconnected.

After spending the last few years spending as much time as possible with couples who had successful marriages, I understand that cycle much better, as well as how laughable my marriage mindset was at the time.

I used to feel terrible (pun intended) because my marriage had conflict.

Over the last few years, however, I’ve observed four things by hanging out with those successful couples.

1. A marriage without any conflict often means somebody has lost heart, or hope, or is suffering in silence.

Even the most loving couples have conflict. The difference is that their conflict is resolved well. They don’t let it escalate to hurt feelings.

2. Couples who are growing together learn how to handle and manage conflict with more maturity and empathy.

One of the keys to a strong marriage is how they handle that conflict. Slowing down and reminding yourself to act maturely and with empathy can go a long way with keeping the right mindset until the conflict is resolved.

3. Arguing with your spouse the right way can actually be unifying and provide another opportunity to grow together.

Can arguments actually be a good thing? Because they are inevitable, yes, they definitely can. Arguing the right way is calm, mature, empathetic, and healthy. Resolving conflict together is a big deal and something that can bring you together. Once healthy conflict resolution becomes the norm, there’s no more sneaking around, avoiding issues, or dreading walking through that front door. Knowing that any conflicts are going to be handled well, and respectfully, brings your marriage to a whole new level.

4. Conflict can help you love your spouse even more.

Over time, handling conflict will have a snowball effect and give you even more to love about your spouse. You will not only value the respect they give to your viewpoints and the grace with which they handle the differences of opinions, you will begin to enjoy them and see how their uniqueness adds to your uniqueness to make both of you better. You will love that they are different than you, more and more, once those differences stop leading to arguments and hurt feelings.

Remember, if you were both the same, one of you wouldn’t be necessary!

I could go on and on about what I’ve learned from hanging out with happily-married couples who have been married decades longer than me, but the lessons I learned about conflict are some of my favorites.

What’s the last thing you learned from another couple to help strengthen your marriage?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Love this, Jamie! #1 is fabulous – I have definitely questioned people who say they never fight because that’s the first thing I think – do both of you actually have a voice in this? The term “fight” and “argue” just have a negative connotation – it can be discuss or debate, or get serious about what matters – but it is critical that you challenge one another and allow for each person to have a voice. Mom loves to also say “practice being kind rather than being right” – and Nathan would ask me “what’s your goal?” Making sure you have the goal of love and support for one another, and be honest about your feelings in the process. Thanks for sharing!

    • We all love learning from you @NamasteMamaRose:disqus!

  • Marco

    Great post. I’ll read it with my wife!
    May I contribute? Some of my inner loving truthful moments with God have come from feeling underestimated by her. Somehow her rejection made me feel the usual rejection we punish into God. So, within the pain, shared with Him, I’ve seen true love come from inside, to work for forgiveness, restoration and joy. We have been growing!

    • I hope things are going great for you, @disqus_A7965tcDbv:disqus! Thanks for your openness and willingness to do the hard work!

  • MarriednNaked

    Love these lessons on conflict. The last thing I learned from a couple was to be accountable in my marriage. To stop pointing fingers. Great post!

    • Yes! Thanks so much for adding to the conversation @MarriednNaked:disqus!

  • The Mills

    The last thing that we learned from another couple that helped strengthen our relationship, was that we should try to see things from the other person’s point of view. It’s a natural reaction in an argument to engage in selfish behavior, but when we started looking at things from the other person’s perspective, what seemed to be irrational behavior, was more understandable.

    Once we started this, arguments were easier to manage.

    #iamgoingtobethebesthusbandintheworld

    • Great stuff, @the_mills:disqus! Keep working hard and it’ll pay off!

  • Marco

    There are no couple problems …but individual responsibility!

    (By the way, I posted few weeks ago; It appears now as posted “a year ago”. I suggest to accurate dates so future readers may feel better to participate in a contemporary chat instead of a “time forgiven blog”.)