Rules for Fair Fighting: Rule #2

Rev. Deb Koster

August 30, 2018


Conflict is normal. Do not flee away from conflict— it is a natural aspect of a healthy relationship. 

Maybe you walk out of the room when the argument is working in your favor. Having vented an angry point of view, you might flee the consequences and response. But that only makes it a moving fight as the argument continues from room to room!

Or maybe you run to hide from facing conflict. You’re angry, but you won’t say so. It will come out in little ways—the way you won’t look at your spouse, or leave the room when they enter, or slam the cupboards a bit too hard. But you can’t quite bring yourself to say, “Let’s talk about this, I’m not happy about it.”

Many of us swallow anger and hide it way. Often we can put it away for a while, but then something happens again and it erupts all over again. Or, we keep hiding it away, pretending that everything is okay while we withdraw emotionally from the relationship. Running and hiding always damage the relationship, eroding and burning like acid. 

EPHESIANS 4:26 — Be angry, but do not sin in your anger. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. 

Rather, the healthy approach is to discuss our concerns, preferably calmly and in the moment, to avoid building walls that will separate us. If the time is not appropriate for a heated discussion, then acknowledge the emotional concern and schedule another time to discuss the issue. 

Bless your spouse with the concerns on your heart. Allow them the opportunity to bear your burdens with you. Sometimes we think we are protecting our spouse by not sharing our heartache. But we only rob our marriage of genuine intimacy by hiding our hearts.  

Running from conflict will never resolve it. If we build up a reservoir of unresolved conflict it will wear us down inside and it will only be a matter of time until it overflows to damage your spouse and your relationship. Conflict is normal so we need to learn to engage it instead of avoiding it.

About the author — Rev. Deb Koster

Deb Koster is a producer, writer, and speaker for Family Fire. She is also an Innkeeper at The Parsonage Inn in Grand Rapids, MI where she leads marriage retreat on weekends. After over 20 years as a Registered Nurse, she completed a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. Deb and her husband Steven enjoy doing ministry together and they are the parents of three awesome young adults.

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