Fight it Out

As the president of an organization called Focus on the Family, you might expect me to say something like, “Never argue with your spouse.” The truth is I believe that even the most healthy, well-rounded couples need to hash things out from time to time. The key is to disagree in ways that move your relationship forward.

To do that, first recognize that avoiding conflict doesn’t strengthen your marriage – it weakens it.  That sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true.  Unresolved conflict doesn’t magically disappear.  It festers beneath the surface, deepening resentment and eroding emotional intimacy. Not only does avoiding conflict bury trouble that will eventually rise up to haunt you, it’s also a missed opportunity to grow as a couple.

Second, remember this: Conflict doesn’t ruin a relationship because you disagree but how you disagree. If you’ll disagree in a way where each of you feels heard, respected, and valued, your connection to each other will deepen. By navigating adversity together, you’re developing important communication and problem-solving skills. You’re learning to be patient, to compromise, and to work together. And you’re anchoring your relationship in values that propel you forward.

To strengthen your marriage, don’t avoid conflict. Fight it out. Pull in the same direction and confront disagreements together.

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