5 Ways Couples Can Forgive and Move Past Disagreements in Their Marriage

Published: Feb 22, 2023
5 Ways Couples Can Forgive and Move Past Disagreements in Their Marriage

Marriage is a beautiful covenant between two people who love each other. They make vows in front of God and their loved ones that they will love, honor, and cherish each other until the day they die. But as with any relationship, conflict is inevitable, even in the best of relationships. One of the signs of spiritual maturity and an emotionally healthy person is how they resolve conflict. Every couple could use better conflict management. Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be good for a relationship as it allows each person to express their deepest emotions and disappointments with the person and the situation. When each person hears the other person's concerns, it allows them to change their behavior and become better people as a result. But sometimes couples want to avoid facing the issue directly. They instead tried to ignore the issue, sweep it under the rug or project their issues onto the other person while avoiding their own behavior changes. Taking responsibility for their part in the conflict and making positive changes toward repentance makes people better in the end. Here are five ways couples can better handle conflict:

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A woman praying, The Joy of Loving God with 'All Your Soul'

1. Pray about It

We know that prayer and reading the Word are two critical elements of spiritual growth. When was the last time you really cried out to the Lord? We often pray for superficial prayer requests and selfish desires. But have we really set aside our selfishness and surrendered our will to the Lord's? When we surrender our will to Lord, we often find he wants us to give all of ourselves to others, including our spouse.

We often spend our time talking about others, but do we do all that it takes to meet the needs in their lives? Isaiah 58:10-11 speaks to this: "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame." Just as we need to do away with the oppression of the poor and needy, we need to release our spouses from the yoke of oppression as well. If we are going to put the best into our marriages, we need to spend ourselves on behalf of our marriage.

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Husband and wife's hands clasped

2. Pray for Your Spouse

Praying together as a couple always helps each person see the conflict from a different vantage point. It's easy to become disgruntled with the other partner, blaming and attacking their character without understanding the intentions behind their actions. But when we pray together with our spouse and for our spouse, God softens our hearts. Couples are always better when their hearts are softened toward each other. Family obligations, distance, and lack of spending time together can make couples act independently from each other. While it is important that each couple have separate interests and hobbies outside of the relationship, they must do life together. The old adage is true, "a family that prays together, stays together." Commit to praying for each other and with each other each day for our entire month. Don't skip a day. When a couple is mad at each other, it's easy to skip this necessary step. You may be surprised to find as you pray together each day, your prayer requests become deeper and more authentic as each week progresses.

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Woman looking depressed at her reflection

3. Consider the Source

Often, couples argue about a situation that, in their mind, has gotten out of control. They may argue about simple things like needing more help around the house, financial issues, or issues with family members. But sometimes, these are the symptom of a much larger problem. Have you analyzed your own emotions and feelings? Is there any unprocessed pain from your past that you may be using to project your feelings onto your spouse? Projection is easy to do as your spouse is the person closest to you. They see you at your best and your worst.

God wants us to live in freedom. This includes analyzing past events and uncovering any pain or wounds you may be feeling because of that event. When you uncover unprocessed pain, you may find pain attached to previous trauma or events that have gone unprocessed. A healthy couple means each person learns how to regulate their emotions and discover their source. It is important to resolve emotions not tied to the spouse because it's unfair to project blame triggered by pain from past traumatic events.

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couple shoulder tattoo

4. Give the Benefit of the Doubt

Think for a moment about why you married your spouse. What were the characteristics or qualities you saw in them? Were they kind? Caring? Smart? If these qualities made you fall in love with them in the first place, you might need to remember why you fell in love with them. More than likely, your spouse was a good person at one time or another. More than likely, there wasn't an evil intention behind their actions. Remember the good person they were and give them the benefit of the doubt. Even if you're wrong, vengeance is the Lord's, not yours.

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5. Forgive and Forget

5. Forgive and Forget

Because of Jesus's death on the cross, God forgives our transgressions and chooses to remember them no more. It is the same in our marriage. It is crucial to choose your battles. If you are getting into a battle over every minor annoyance, it may be time to analyze why you're getting so easily agitated. If previous issues have not been dealt with and forgiven properly, they can become relevant in your current squabbles. Ask the Lord to reveal any previous fights or issues you have not forgiven. As Christians, we are called to forgive others seventy times seven. We need to do so in our marriages as well. Forgive past issues and then analyze if the current argument you are embroiled in is worth the fight. More than likely, it's not.

Conflict in any marriage is difficult. But the conflict that has gone unresolved and hearts that have gone unchecked can result in emotional separation, or worse, divorce. Choose your battles and fight the battles that will make you better people in the end. Choose not to make divorce an option. Forgive when necessary, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and best of all give the situation over to the Lord. God wants nothing but the best for your marriage, as it's a reflection of the relationship Christ has with his church. The best way to help our churches regain their voices in society is to be a better example in our marriages.

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Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.

Originally published Wednesday, 22 February 2023.