115 Beyond Your Wedding Day Podcast-Do You And Your Spouse Have Conflict?
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There are six main types of conflict. It’s important to figure out what type you may be having so that you can better find a solution.
1) Sin of One Spouse
*This is when one spouse clearly sins against the other spouse. That can be in a huge variety of ways: from having an affair to financial infidelity.
*This is always a great opportunity for the offended spouse to show mercy, humility, grace, and forgiveness to your spouse
*Do not minimize the sin, however. It’s still important to call it what it is and explain the hurt you feel from it
*If the offender apologizes, accept their apology and say something like “If I notice it happening again, how do you want me to help you? What do you want me to do?”
2) Immaturity or Brokenness of One Person
*Accept reality that you and your spouse are imperfect
*Someone may be disorganized or scatterbrained or depressed. That doesn’t mean they are sinning against you, it just means that they are imperfect like you are
*Support your spouse in these situations. They will never grow if they are just being nagged, judged, or condemned constantly. Let them know that you are on their team
*You need to be honest with your spouse about problems, but not in a condemning way
*Get a plan that includes outside help. That help may include counseling, financial coaching, an accountability network, etc.
*Make all problems mutual. You have to guard against one being the “problem spouse” and one being the “good spouse” or even the “ok spouse”
3)Hurt Feelings That Are No One’s Fault
*It certainly is possible for someone to get their feelings hurt even when no one actually did anything wrong. Usually this results from expectations that were never communicated
-Such as expecting your spouse to help you with the dishes after dinner even though you never asked them for help. Then you get upset and angry at your spouse for not helping even though they didn’t actually do anything wrong.
*When you do get your feelings hurt, acknowledge it and be honest about it
*Make sure to point out that you realize they didn’t do anything wrong, but it hurt your feelings when…
-For example, saying “I know you didn’t do anything wrong. But I felt hurt and unappreciated when I had to do the dishes all by myself earlier. I have just been really stressed out lately”
*Empathize with your spouse if they come to you with something like this, do NOT devalue their feelings.
-You could respond with something like “I understand that hurt and those feelings. I know sometimes I could just use a little help when I get stressed out to.” You’re not saying it’s your fault, you are simply showing empathy.
*Identify upcoming potential problems and devise a plan.
-Keeping with our example, if you have a very hectic week ahead of you, make sure to talk about doing things to help prevent, alleviate, or even just acknowledge the stress that will come
*Avoid “going to court” There is no judge and jury and in some cases no one is in the wrong, so you will just go crazy and drive yourselves apart trying to figure out who was right and who was wrong because the answer doesn’t exist.
4) Conflicting Desires
*This is just part of marriage: one likes McDonalds, the other Hardees, one likes action movies, the other likes comedies, etc.
*Avoid making your preference the moral high ground
-For example, one spouse chooses to spend free time watching TV or playing with the kids. The other spouse spends free time doing projects around the house. It’s easy for the project spouse to say he “should” be helping her, not relaxing. The TV watching spouse may say that he deserves to watch TV and that she is wrong. Don’t fall into this trap
*Don’t devalue your spouse’s preferences and desires as less important than what you want
*Always have the attitude of meeting your spouse’s desires before having your own needs met. That is what marriage is all about!
5)Desires of One Person Versus the Needs of the Relationship
*Mom wants to go back to school, but the family needs her time and they need the money. Or Dad wants to relocate for his job/career, but it will disrupt the family
*The major problem occurs when the marriage always serves one member and never the other.
6) Known Versus Unknown Problems
*Most of us have blind spots that we don’t realize we are doing something
*If the problem is known (something that has been discussed before), then:
-agree on what you will do if the problem reoccurs
-Confrontation should be an attempt to heal, not to control
-If you know about the problem, it is YOUR responsibility to fix it!
-If it’s your spouse’s problem and you know about it, do not enable them
*If the problem is unknown by the offender:
-Have an agreement that you will always kindly let your spouse know of problems
-If you are confronted, don’t get defensive: be open to what they have to say
-Get honest feedback from friends, in many cases they will agree with your spouse