Healthy Conflict in Marriage

Day 5 of 7 • This day’s reading


Every marriage experiences conflict, but for problems to get resolved, someone has to be willing to jump first.

Like most kids, I was pretty adventurous growing up. One day, a buddy and I were out exploring, and we stumbled upon a small ravine. Without a word, we quickly calculated the distance across and how far the drop was to the bottom. It offered the perfect measure of danger. We could make it across, but it would be a challenge. There was just one problem: which one of us was going to jump first.

Let’s face it, that’s human nature. Whether it’s two kids jumping a ravine or two adults resolving conflict, we all want the other person to take the first step. In a marriage, this is often because we focus on our spouse’s behavior rather than our own. For example, one husband admitted he emotionally withdrew from his wife because of her lavish spending habits. The wife, on the other hand, said spending money helped her feel comforted when her husband withdrew. See the problem? Each person blamed their spouse, rather than taking responsibility for their own behavior. It’s a vicious cycle that cripples marriages.

And there’s only one solution: somebody has to jump first! If your marriage needs help, don’t work on changing your spouse. Instead, by God’s grace, consider what you can do to move your relationship in a positive direction. You’ll be surprised at the difference you can make when you take the first step.

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