Healthy Conflict in Marriage

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


Here’s a riddle: Everybody wants it. But if you use it in your marriage, you could lose everything. What is it?

The answer is control. Whether it’s the right sweetener for our coffee or keeping our home at a certain temperature, we all want our life to function in a way that suits us. And what do we do when something doesn’t work the way we like? We try to control it, of course.

Unfortunately, many people employ a similar strategy in their marriage.
Controlling behavior can often occur because one spouse doesn’t feel loved and validated by the other. So they try to control their spouse’s actions to insure they get the relationship they want. But taking charge over a spouse doesn’t foster connection and love. Instead, it destroys it because control erodes partnership and oneness, the very foundation God designed into the marital relationship.

Here is the hard truth: If you control your spouse, you’re in danger of losing your marriage. In many cases, a spouse who feels controlled will try to escape. That may be through an affair, a divorce, or, at the very least, the spouse may spend all of their time with friends or in another part of the house.

The solution is to give up the role of “boss” and to begin cultivating a relationship of warmth and openness. It may take the help of a counselor, but when a couple learns healthy ways to connect and become complimentary in the way God intended, a strong marriage is just over the horizon.

For a daily dose of encouragement and perspective, check out Jim Daly’s blog, Daly Focus, at