How to Fight Well in Marriage


Blood flushes your face, heart beating, thoughts rushing, as the same frustration blurs around you like an unending carousel. When you married your “happily ever after,” you never imagined driving into the sunset would involve so many road bumps. But here you are at the same impasse, your “happily ever after,” has become your frustration, your complication.

Every couple has a disagreement at some point or another. You can resolve a lot of them with a little space and perspective. But sometimes there’s an issue, which no matter how much you talk about it, you and your partner can’t see eye to eye. In fact, the more you bring it up, the more distance seems to grow between you.

When Nathan and I first got married, he didn’t get along with my mom. As a chronic people-pleaser, I felt torn between keeping my mom’s approval and keeping my new husband happy. The problem was, I made myself miserable in the process.

As with any difficult situation, there were a million hidden problems that contributed to the big problem, like dust bunnies that collect silently in corners and under furniture. I had an unhealthy attachment to my mom and needed to learn to put Nathan first. He needed to be more sympathetic to the fact that we had just moved 2,000 miles away from my family for his career. The list goes on. But the truth was that in the moment of conflict, we saw each other as the problem, and couldn’t see our own flaws.

A softening needed to take place, like the wax in a candle, so that we could mold into each other. But we were stubborn wax pillars, unwilling to bend. We needed the warmth that only the Holy Spirit could provide, to soften and reshape our hearts together. And this was only one example of the remolding he was doing in our hearts to prepare and pour our souls into the pillar of our marriage.

We imagine we say our vows, and voila- two married people are united. But a union is a cohesion that happens as we submit our hearts to God and each other, day after day, year after year. The Holy Spirit softens, purifies, and enlightens our hearts to be the perfect half for the whole.

The next time you find you can’t see eye to eye; instead of circling the same conversations that leave you feeling more separate than ever, pray.
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Pray about the situation, pray for you and your spouse’s heart, pray that he would use this disagreement for the ultimate good of your marriage. I know, I know, it sounds so simplistic, but I can tell you from the filter of almost eight years of marriage, that the Holy Spirit can create lasting change and clarity, while words only divide and confuse the situation.

While you pray, find the things that you are grateful for about your partner.
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Pray for “eyes to see” all the ways you are a great match. But more than that, remember that maybe God didn’t  just bring you together for all the things you love about each other, but for the ways your differences challenge one another too. Looking at the big picture can help the little things fall through the cracks while keeping the important stuff in center view. After all, the “big issues” in the beginning of my marriage are forgotten crumbs amid busy, bare foot kids and a thriving ministry. Don’t worry- we’ve adopted more problems and conflicts because that’s pretty much what people do. But when we look at our problem’s in the light of God’s plan and provision, it helps us to keep our eyes fixed on God and each other.

We know we won’t find perfection on this side of God’s kingdom, but amid the bills, leaks, broken relationships, and confused intentions, God gave you someone to share your life with. It’s easy to acknowledge God in your relationship, but it’s a different thing entirely to invite him into your marriage. It means giving the Father the head seat at the table, walking with Jesus on the ordinary days, and praying that the Spirit would shape and dwell in both your hearts. It’s not simplistic, and it’s not a one and done formula, but God can use marriage to not only deepen your relationship with each other but to draw you closer to Him. Like a chord of three strands, your hearts are tied to one another, suspended to Heaven, as you fix your eyes on things above, living in the mess of everyday life. It’s complicated, and it’s difficult, yet so, so beautiful.



About

Lindsay has been married to her hunky pastor husband for almost 8 years. They have two beautiful girls and a weiner dog. She’s a coffee drinking & cupcake loving wordsmith. She loves leading, speaking and inspiring women to love well. Visit her corner of the world at her blog or through her Facebook page.


  • At long last, in our 60’s, my husband and I did some work with a skilled counselor (not all are, I have found out) and untangled some of the knots we often got ourselves into. My passion is for couples to get help when the things you can do yourself don’t really do it. We had a pretty good marriage in many ways, but we had such blind spots because of our own wounding we did not realize were affecting us. We are so grateful we did and our kids notice too.

  • Jody Ohlsen Collins

    God is the glue that holds a marriage together that is for sure. So well said, Lindsay. July 14th is our 44th anniversary; your words sum up the reason well :
    “…union is a cohesion that happens as we submit our hearts to God and each other, day after day, year after year. The Holy Spirit softens, purifies, and enlightens our hearts to be the perfect half for the whole.”

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