“There is, hidden or flaunted, a sword between the sexes till an entire marriage reconciles them,” said C.S. Lewis. Marriage is a battlefield. Even happy couples who preserve their love for each other have moments of conflict.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. God brought you and your spouse together, so you could help each other get to heaven. But both of you are wounded by sin. Mutual aid means working through conflicting desires, selfishness, and hurt.
Of course, conflict can destroy a marriage if left unchecked. However, if managed well, it can help you and your spouse grow closer together.
Here are some tips for making this happen.
The more you and your spouse understand about yourselves — especially your wounds and baggage — the more you understand your angry reactions. When you fight, these wounds rub against each other.
Early in the marriage, you may not know why your spouse is reacting the way they are. As time passes and you grow together, you’ll learn to identify the wounds that trigger the anger and disagreements. Be sensitive so you can become more empathetic to your spouse’s suffering.
Fight to become a better couple.
What are your motives for fighting with your spouse? Is it to tear them down? If so, your battle will end in misery.
Instead, fight to help you and your spouse become better people. And make it a fight fair.
At times like these, it’s natural to be defensive. You feel attacked and react to that. If you’re too wound up to argue in a healthy way at that moment, ask for time to calm down. Then you’ll both be ready to have a more constructive conversation.
If possible, call a friend who thinks highly of your spouse.
Consider talking to someone who you know will take your spouse’s side. Never take advice from anyone who will throw your significant other under the bus.
It can be especially helpful if that person shares your spouse’s temperament. Why? Because while you think you’re saying one thing to your spouse, they may have interpreted your words in a totally different light. Talking to someone with similar traits can help you better understand your spouse’s mind and heart.
Every fair fight should end with reconciliation. It may not happen right away, but it should be sooner rather than later. (“Do not let the sun go down on your anger,” Eph. 4:26.) You will find your marriage strengthened and better able to withstand future challenges.
Catholics are used to behaving counterculturally. This is…
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