Disagreement in Marriage Podcast

When Spouses Don’t Share the Same Ideals


Disagreement in marriage is real. Anyone who is married understands the wisdom of being “equally yoked.” Fortunately, Christians are “equally yoked” on the basis of faith in Christ. Yet, there are many other ideals, values and dreams we might not be so “equally yoked.” In this episode of Breaking Bread, Kaleb Beyer gives us a path forward for finding unity in the midst of the conflict this reality brings.

Background:

Conflict around values and dreams are uniquely challenging because of the deep-seated nature of the held beliefs. Consider the examples below:

  • Spouse A believes that family time should be protected and abundant.
  • Spouse B believes that people should be community oriented.

  • Spouse A believes that the house should be neat and orderly.
  • Spouse B believes that the house should be “lived in” and not necessarily tidy.

  • Spouse A believes money should be shared, spent and not hoarded.
  • Spouse B believes money should be saved.

  • Good biblical and wise argumentation can be given on either side of the issues.
  • Conflict is fueled because of the emotion that resides with the deeply held ideals.

Conflict Intervention:

How couples can move through conflict. [Intervention based on Dr. John Gottman’s research]

  • First: Is the couple in a place to have the disputing conversation?
    • Evaluate how intense the held values are.
    • Evaluate how long each value has been held.
    • Evaluate the climate of the relationship. A “positive” climate needs to be present to have constructive conversation. Building a union of friendship, gratitude and closeness is important.
  • Second: Personal preparation is required.
    • The humility to understand that each affects the other at their point of deeply held values.
    • Recognize that moving through the conflict is an important objective. As important or more, than the terms of resolution.
    • Values are not changed quickly; patience will be required.
    • Empathy and compassion will be necessary to hear your spouse.
    • A commitment to shared purpose is necessary. We win together, not separately.
    • A willingness to be influenced by spouse.
  • Third: The disputing conversation occurs.
    • Attempt to be soft and slow. Be amiable, not reactive; open not closed; flexible, not rigid. We think better when processes slow down.
    • Use structure for the conversation: Assign roles-who is the speaker and who is the listener.
    • Ask your spouse to tell you the story of their vision. Seek to understand.
    • Monitor when escalation happens in yourself or your spouse. When escalation happens, you might need to take a break so soft and slow can return.
  • Fourth: Once understanding of each other’s values has occurred, move into the circle of compromise.
    • Each should consider what you can be flexible about in the disputable matter.
    • Each should consider what they are inflexible about in the disputable matter.
    • Attempt to make your “area” of flexible as large as possible and “area” of rigidity as small as possible.
    • Share with one another your circle of compromise and determine a compromise.
    • Live into the compromise for a time and continue to have dialogue.


Further Information

Conflict Resolution in Marriage
This article helps couples identity ways to move through conflict in a healthy way. [ACCFS]

Restoration Attempts in Marriage
Healthy and satisfying relationships are not made up of “perfect” people, but rather healthy marriages are comprised of individuals who know what to do when mistakes are made. Managing this reality is key in a marriage relationship.