What Is Marital Conflict

QUESTION: What is marital conflict?

ANSWER:

What is marital conflict? She wants one thing. He wants another. One activity is important to him. She detests that one. Two people who were deeply in love are finding themselves in opposition to almost everything in life. What has happened to bring about marital conflict like this?

One writer has stated that marital conflict stems out of unmet needs, wants, and desires. When one person needs or wants something badly enough, and the other person is unwilling or unable to meet that need, resentment grows. Then, if one were to add the power of an unruly tongue, the situation becomes ripe for open conflict.

Marital conflicts happen when one or both persons are self- centered. One selfishly wants what he wants without consideration for the capabilities, plans, or goals of his spouse.

When a self-centered person’s wants are not meet, they become demands. When those demands are not met he begins to judge. His spouse is no good. Then he punishes; by silence, by withdrawal, or by open expressions of anger and rage. But he punishes, nevertheless.

The topic of conflict is addressed in the book of James. “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn't it the whole army of evil desires at war within you? You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can't possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it” (James 4:1-2). He goes on to say that often you do not get what you want because you ask self-centeredly.

Rather, a person should bring his legitimate needs before God and ask for wisdom and patience in learning how to manage and deal with the problem. It is never wise to let one’s own wants become so overpowering and demanding that those wants turn into a virtual idol. An idol demands sacrifice. The marriage will suffer.

Learn More About Managing Marital Conflict!

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