The Most Common Fights in a Marriage and How to Work Through Them

  • Kia Stephens
The Most Common Fights in a Marriage and How to Work Through Them

“When is your date again?” I recently asked a church member. Giddy with excitement, he told me about his upcoming wedding in August and all the details they had to take care of. As we talked briefly, I remembered that time in my own life.

Eager to try on dresses and taste cake, I was blindsided by the indefinite postponement of my wedding day. In the midst of what should have been sheer exhilaration, I had to accept the reality that we were not ready to be married. That season in my life was difficult, embarrassing, and slow. But prioritizing the marriage over the wedding day was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made.

This is why I responded by asking, “Are you guys doing counseling?” My question was not void of excitement regarding the details of the day but rooted in concern for the marriage. I was aware of the temptation to focus on the day rather than life ever after. I had seen unresolved problems erode the marital bliss in my life and that of other couples who never saw it coming.

When planning a wedding, no one wants to consider the possibility of discord. But no marriage is exempt from difficulties. In fact, if you have spent any amount of time in a seminar, premarital counseling, or listening to a sermon series, you can probably name the three most common conflicts in marriage: sex, money, and communication.

Here are just a few suggestions on how to work through this marriage triple-threat.

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Conflict 1: Sex

Conflict 1: Sex

God’s aim for sex was to create a union, children, and a family. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Sex is a physical display of what happens between the souls of a woman and a man when they are joined in marriage.

Despite this reality, sex sometimes acts as a wedge between a couple rather than a bonding agent. How is it possible that something God created for intimacy in marriage can cause so much disharmony between a husband and a wife? I would venture to say there are several factors that impact a couple’s sexual relationship.

Whether it’s timing, unfaithfulness, past sexual sins, or misunderstandings, how can a couple work through these barriers when they arise?

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Pray for Each Other

Pray for Each Other

Prayer is the first place one or both spouses need to begin. Prayer offers us infinite communication with God who is able to do what we may deem impossible. John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us.” It may feel uncomfortable talking to God about sex in marriage, but He created it. We should go to Him first. He desires that we experience healthy intimacy in our marriages because it directly impacts the health of the family.

This may be why the apostle Paul said, “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” When we do not communicate openly or prayerfully about intimacy with our spouses, doors are left open for the enemy to get a foothold in our marriages.

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Communicate with One Another

Communicate with One Another

Communication is another practical way to work through fights with your spouse about sex. This may be difficult initially, but it is very necessary. We must discuss expectations, frequency, likes and dislikes, and barriers. The barriers may include our past experiences and traumas. If the thought of this conversation makes you uncomfortable, it may be beneficial to enlist a counselor to help you and your spouse work through challenges in this area.

One of the greatest things we can do when it comes to sex in marriage is to remember the mutual submission described in Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This life-altering statement preceded Paul’s specific instruction for a wife to submit to her husband and a husband to love his wife. Mutual submission is the lens through which sex should be viewed. Both the husband and wife are to focus on pleasing their spouse. A commitment to this command will help couples work through this common disagreement. 

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Conflict 2: Money

Conflict 2: Money

Challenges arise with any life adjustment, particularly financial changes. In unstable circumstances, a couple’s take-home pay can drastically decrease in a matter of days. A company downsize, a spouse’s decision to stay home, or a medical emergency could shake up the finances in a marriage.

Tension sets in as bills continue to mount. Things break, and children require endless amounts of money you don’t have. What is a couple supposed to do when they encounter unexpected difficulties in their finances? 

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Pray for You and Your Spouse's Needs

Pray for You and Your Spouse's Needs

The number one response is to pray. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” This statement means God will ultimately take care of you, although it may not be in the way you desire. This is the peace that should govern our financial decisions.

Because we often place undue importance on money, working through financial conflict requires the divine intervention of our heavenly Father. Each spouse has their own idea of how money should be spent, and sometimes they are adamant about it. When the two disagree, there can be catastrophic discord. Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Only God can change the heart of man as it relates to money, which is why we should turn to Him.

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Seek Counsel

Seek Counsel

After continuously seeking God’s wisdom and direction. It is also a good idea to consider pursuing outside assistance. If you or your spouse are unable to afford a financial counselor, consider looking into free or moderately priced programs like Financial Peace and Money Life offered by several churches. These classes can help you and your spouse get on the same page as it relates to tithing, saving, and spending.

Another suggestion is to have only one bank account. When a couple shares an account, it forces them to talk on a consistent basis about how the money is spent. This communication can be fostered by utilizing a budget each month to monitor and plan monthly spending. By incorporating these few strategies, you can begin to work through your financial woes so that they no longer cause fights in your marriage. 

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Conflict 3: Communication

Conflict 3: Communication

How many times have you said one thing, but your spouse heard another? This scenario is far too common in marriage. This is why Dr. John Gray wrote the book, Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus.

Men and women think differently. Add in unique personalities, varying backgrounds, and different levels of maturity, and communication can become an all-out disaster. Peaceful date nights quickly go awry, and trips to church can end in anger, leaving both people wondering, “What happened?”

In 15 years, I’ve been there more than I care to admit. As a result, I have seasoned and fire-tested advice to offer on the subject: the place to begin is on your knees. 

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Pray and Ask for Words of Wisdom

Pray and Ask for Words of Wisdom

God offers us infinite wisdom and understanding as it relates to communication. He says in James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. . .” This nugget alone would resolve a large percentage of communication conflict in marriage.

He also said through the words of Solomon in Proverbs 20:5, “The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out…” God desires that we use wise words with our spouse in order to draw out the things in their heart they can’t communicate with anyone else. This requires time, patience, and unconditional love on our part.

It is definitely not easy, but if we choose to cling to this and other wisdom, we will be able to work through these common conflicts as well as others.  

Kia-stephens-headshot Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally absent father. Each week through practical and biblically sound teaching she encourages women to exchange father wounds for the love of God the Father. For more encouragement download Kia's free ebooks, Hope for the Woman With Father Wounds and Forgiveness Hacks: 5 Strategies to Help You Forgive. Additionally, you can connect with Kia on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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