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resolve conflict in marriage

How to Resolve Conflict in Marriage: 7 Biblical Ways to Healing

Is it hard for you to resolve conflict in marriage in a healthy way? Sadly, being a Christian doesn’t mean you automatically come with conflict resolution skills. 

In fact, most of the time, healthy conflict resolution skills are learned through trial and error. In my case, mostly errors. I’m a bit slow…

When problems would arise in my marriage, I would try one way, only to move on to a new tactic if I didn’t get the desired result–a win.

After a while, I realized we were a team. We were either going to win together or lose together.

Now that we have been married 28 years, I can clearly verbalize what has worked (and what hasn’t).

If you want to glean a few pearls of wisdom from an old married couple keep reading. You may learn a few tips on how to resolve conflict in marriage biblically and heal.

RELATED: 11 Best Tips For a Successful Marriage Every Wife Needs to Know

How Do You Resolve Conflict Between Husband and Wife? Not like this…

We had only been married a week before the big one hit. It was our first major fight as a married couple. And let me tell you, it was a doozy. The conversation started off innocently but went south within a matter of minutes.

The next thing I knew, my husband was telling me the health protocol of our invisible children. No questions, comments, or rebuttals. It was his way or the highway.

One of his proclamations was that we were going to feed our children (that didn’t exist) cod liver oil.

I, of course, reacted in defiance to the idea because I, of course,  knew how to resolve conflict in marriage the healthy way. We didn’t need to talk about the benefits of cod live oil (fish oil) or read any information about the subject.

I already knew he was wrong without listening. (This would be the first mistake.)

I wanted no part of my husband’s evil plan. That was not the kind of mother I was going to be. And most of all, he was NOT going to tell me how to raise our pretend children. Who did he think he was anyway? I was a teacher. I was an expert!

In a fit of rage, I grabbed my husband’s finger and bit the fire out of it, and then ran to our bedroom which was about 7 feet from the living room. After that, I slammed the door and locked it.

As a Christian, I knew exactly how to resolve conflict in a relationship–biting, running off, and slamming doors

And that is how we started our first month of marriage. Truthfully, neither of us knew how to resolve conflict in a new marriage.

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 7 Biblical Ways to Resolve Conflict in a Marriage

If you want to know how to resolve conflict in a marriage relationship, you should probably do everything opposite of what my husband and I did in our first month of marriage!

After many years and lots of tears, we have both learned that it is better to show up as two adults and work together.  If you want some hard-earned advice, then check out these 7 biblical ways to resolve conflict in marriage and work through your differences:

1. Listen

Pursue your spouse. Genuinely listen to his point of view. Be interested in her ideas, feelings, and dreams. This means taking time away from the kids so you are not distracted. Dates are an excellent way to reconnect as a couple and talk through things.

2. Consider

Consider the facts, evaluate, pray through the situation at hand. Sometimes emotions take over and escalate a situation. Stand back and see it logically. Would it be a good thing for you, your marriage, and your family? Would it hurt? Does it go against God’s word? Consider these things when you’re trying to resolve conflict in marriage.

RELATED: How to Change Your Husband With These 5 Powerful Prayers

3. Reject

Reject pride and selfish behavior. Be willing to admit when you are wrong. Put the other person first. You don’t have to always get your own way. Many times we mistake questions for dissent and feel threatened. Choose to respond in love.

RELATED: The #1 Secret to a Happy Marriage Is Not What You Think

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Get your FREE CONFLICT RESOLUTION (PDF) TIPS to help you and your spouse navigate difficult conversations.

4. Focus

Focus on the problem, not the person. Be willing to address the situation even if you know it is going to be uncomfortable. Avoiding it will not make it go away. If your spouse overreacts, keep calm. Gently direct it back to the problem. Don’t escalate it further. This is one of the best ways to resolve conflict in marriage.

5. Change

You can not change your spouse. You can only change yourself. Work on you. If you have an addiction, anger issues, or any other unhealthy behaviors, address it now. Ask God to show you any blind spots in your life. Changing yourself will force your spouse to have to change the way he interacts with you.

RELATED: Christian Marriage Advice: 10 Best Tips For a Christ-Centered Marriage

6. Wait

Wait until you both have peace about a decision. Pushing too hard to get your way may end up in a disaster if your spouse has a genuine concern about something. God uses the gifts of both the husband and the wife to get a sound decision. If you think you don’t need your spouse’s input, you are sadly mistaken. This is an important thing to remember when you resolve conflict in marriage.

7. Compromise

Be willing to compromise so you both win. This means changing your thinking from “I” to “we.” You both win or lose together. It is not a competition against each other; it is a team sport. Many people go into marriage thinking they are going to get all their needs met when in reality many times it is about dying to self.

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how to resolve conflict in marriage

What Does the Bible Say About Resolving Conflict in Marriage?

Here are 10 powerful Bible verses to help you learn how to resolve conflict in marriage biblically. I hope they will help reinforce some of the tips I suggested.

I Peter 3: 8-9  NIV. Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

I Peter 3: 8-9 ESV. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Matthew 19:6 ESV. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Colossians 3:19 ESV. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Proverbs 14:29 NIV. Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a ESV. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends. 

Romans 12: 19 NIV. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Philippians 2:3-4  NIV. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Hebrews 12:5 NIV. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Matthew 18:15-16 ESV. If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.

Share your tips on how to resolve conflict in marriage in the comments below. 

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Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or have a family estrangement? Do you feel shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement (and reconciliation) from my Christian family but also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

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Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

Join the group Christian Family Living on Facebook

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to freely talk about parenting, marriage, faith, family, and culture. Being a Christian is hard! Let’s do it together. Most of all, a sense of humor is required. Got memes? Bring it on!

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21 thoughts on “How to Resolve Conflict in Marriage: 7 Biblical Ways to Healing”

  1. Thanks so much for this knowledge and wisdom impartation,I understand that Marriage is a school where you are given a Certificate but never graduate because you keep learning everyday, you surrender pride( so difficult) anger and a lot more, you even compromise and make lots of Sacrifices to make things work out, I pray GOD keeps remoulding us till we get into a better and best shapes, thanks Julie Plagens; all your teachings were so inspiring, may GOD keep imparting on you to mend homes through your wonderful insights…

    1. Agu, thank you for this sweet comment. My husband and I lead a marriage group at church. We learn just as much as the young couples in the class. We never stop growing as individuals or as a couple. I am so grateful my husband wants to be the best he can be for me.

  2. Thanks for sharing! It’s very useful mostly to the newly weds, just like us. The first thing that caught my attention was Item No.1. Two months after getting married, we had a serious selfishness argument over petty things. Our explanations made no difference since we were focused on ourselves and it not good. As a couple, it is extremely important to listen to each other, because if we fail to hear each other’s concern/issue, we cannot get an answer to it and we cannot resolve it at all. Our arguments are more likely to be driven by pride. We can’t avoid assumptions or conclusions unless you know what really happened, so better just hear each other out then you’ll know what to do next and pray as well.

    1. Riya, I am glad you worked it out. So many times we bring our baggage into marriage not realizing we are broken and hurting even before we walked into wedded bliss. Pride is one of the biggest things that keep us from being united as one. Glad you realize that now. I hope these 7 tips to help resolve conflict in marriage will help you as you walk together as one.

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  4. Julie,

    What a great post on how to resolve conflict in marriage. My husband & I are still newlyweds, coming up on our one year anniversary. Even though most of the tips sound familiar to me, it’s harder to remember them when conflict arises.

    1. Lauren, it is hard to remember what to do when you are emotionally charged. You will learn over time how to resolve conflict in marriage. It usually comes with trial and error!

  5. Julie, you had me at “I bit his finger.” I’ve never experienced this type of conflict in my own marriage—but I do know several couples who have. Thank you for sharing your heart and some practical and biblical wisdom to help handle conflict in marriage the right way.

    1. Haha! I know who does that, right? My daughter still laughs at this story. We have had a lot of trials but God has refined us. And he still is working on us. God is good to not give up on us. We are a miracle. Thanks for your comment.

    1. Denise, it is soo easy to get off the problem and get your eyes on the person and his behavior. I have to keep reminding myself that we are a team working together to fix a problem. Thanks for your comment.

    1. Hannah, thanks so much for your comment. It is not easy to resolve conflict in marriage when you are young and selfish! But God is good. He is able to refine even the most difficult people!

    2. Julie,
      Thank you SO much for sharing these jewels!! When I read that you bit your husband, I knew I had to keep reading, LOL! But seriously, this has been one of the BEST reads I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, in a long time! My husband and I are newlyweds and we welcome all of the helpful tips we can get. This was spot on! Thanks again! Continue to be Blessed and be a Blessing to others! GOD IS LOVE💖!

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