Imagine this scenario.

You’re mad. He’s frustrated.

You want one thing. He wants another.

He’s not hearing you. You’re not understanding him.

Words have been said.

I don’t know about you, but this scene plays out in my marriage more than I’d like to admit.

But what if there was another way?

In 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage Sheila Wray Gregoire writes about her and her husband’s conflict,

We never actually resolved anything since we weren’t really dealing with the issues. I focused on winning the argument, but in the process I was losing my husband. I forgot that marriage was not about me winning; marriage was about oneness – and that meant we needed to find a way for both of us to win. 

Oh, how often have I found myself in this exact same place! So how do you make a change? The key is found in thought number 7 (out of the 9) – “Being One is More Important Than Being Right.”

In this chapter, Sheila goes on to dig deep into what it really means to seek oneness through conflict in your marriage. Something that really resonated with me was the section on overcoming anger.

You see, real talk moment here, I have a little bit of a temper. Okay, I take that back, I can really struggle with my temper! Although I do believe I have seen some improvement (thank you Jesus!) in our six years of marriage, sometimes it does get the better of me.

Sheila explains that when we are in conflict, in the heat of the moment, our emotions are going crazy and our adrenaline starts pumping. Because of this, thinking clearly becomes very difficult. She writes:

Your heart rate increases. Your body gets primed to flee, if needed. All of your senses are heightened. This cycle starts because the limbic system takes over, inhibiting rational thinking and putting you into emergency mode. It often takes up to an hour after feeling anger for the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher order thinking, to start functioning normally again. 

So, what’s a frustrated spouse to do? Sheila gives an answer – empathy.

The geek in me loved her reference to a scene in The Lord of the Rings. Gimli and Aragon are in the heat of battle when they come upon each other. She writes, “They stop in their tracks. They see not foe, but friend. The battle frenzy dissipates.”

Isn’t that a great picture of what it is like to stop and really see your spouse in the midst of a heated conversation?

Once you realize you’re on the same side, resolving the conflict becomes a lot easier. The rest of the chapter goes on to give practical advice for conflict resolution. For example, I really liked the idea for you and your spouse to list the 5 most important things to you and then use that to come to a compromise.

Just incorporating “Being one is more important than being right” is enough to dramatically change your marriage for the better and that is only one of the 9 thoughts. The rest of them are just as good! I highly encourage you to read this book. In fact, I think I’m going to read it again with my husband!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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1 Comment

  1. […] Millay at Simple Life Messy Life loved my thoughts on how to resolve conflict (including my geeky reference to Lord of the Rings!) […]