I grew up in a family that didn’t really know how to resolve conflicts. My parents played opposite positions in times of conflict, but neither position was healthy. They were living examples of the extremes in communication. My mother would aggressively confront my dad regarding a problem and my dad would passively run the other way.

In marriage, we often tend to follow the examples of our parents.  And so that’s what I ended up doing, as well. In the early years of my relationship with my husband, I adopted my father’s approach.

The conversations between my husband and I would go something like this: he would notice that I was being unusually quiet and sullen.

He would then say, “Is something wrong?”

I would say, “No, I’m fine.” (Often said in a curt way)

He would then say, “Something’s wrong! Tell me the truth, Beth!”

I would say, “No, really, I’m fine!(Still not convincing him)

At that point, he usually pulled out all the stops to literally drag me out of my place of hiding. But unfortunately, this approach didn’t work.  As you can imagine, it only made matters worse!

I must admit that we both made a marriage mistake when it came to conflict resolution.  I withdrew from him in steely, cold silence, which felt very much like abandonment or at least harsh rejection. And he advanced forward, pursuing me with such voracity that it seemed he turned from simply desiring openness to an all out attack.

As I mentioned before, we were operating at the conflict resolution extremes. Actually, there really isn’t “resolution” at the extremes. Everyone must find the middle ground when trying to resolve conflict.

I will go into more detail about how to resolve conflicts in a later post.  Before I go there, I want to share one more marriage mistake in days to come that sets the stage for discussing conflict resolution.  So, stay tuned! But until that time, please let me know, . .

Do you relate to this problem?

Are you still struggling to find that middle ground?

What fears or hesitations get in the way of dealing directly with conflict?



Comments on: "Marriage Mistake #3 – Avoided Conflict" (3)

  1. I can totally relate, however, we were the opposite. I was the attacker. The more I tried to get him to “fight” with me (the way I knew to deal with a problem) the more he ignored me (or so I felt). I would literally chase him from room to room trying to get him to talk to me about an issue.
    Thankfully, I think we have learned better ways to deal with problems in our marriage! It sometimes begins this way, but we are both usually able to stop, calm down, and start over. It took many years to at least do that!!
    During my husband’s 16 month deployment we lost some of the ability to communicate effectively. We weren’t talking on a regular basis and when we did it usually wasn’t about anything that needed “dealt with”. Upon his return, we had to do a little starting over. After two years, I think we are back to were we started. :))

  2. You bring up a good point, Andrea. Many times difficulties or huge changes disrupt communication patterns in marriages. I’m glad that you guys were able to get back on track. Many people can’t or simply never knew how to be on track in the first place. Thanks for sharing and being so vulnerable!

  3. […] I’ve said in my last post regarding my marriage mistakes, conflict can only be resolved when two parties find balance and meet in the middle and not on the […]

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