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  • Dr. Bill Walker

Tired of Conflict In Your Marriage? There Is Hope Ahead!


Do you get tired of arguing with your spouse and the negativity that goes with it?

Have you ever thought about giving up and walking out?

Don’t! Hang in there.

New research finds that marriages tend to get more positive and happier the longer you are married.

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It’s unfortunate that most of us don’t enjoy a marriage where every day is indescribable bliss and perfection. The reality is many marriages endure years of disagreements, conflict and disappointment.

Even so – you have made the decision to stay in your imperfect marriage. You deserve things to get better. And they do!

Researchers have discovered that most marriages get better and become more positive the longer you and your spouse stay together.

This means there are more and more good times ahead for your marriage.

It’s a reward you have earned.

Read on to find out what likely lies ahead for you and your mate.

For a period of 13 years, marriage researchers at the University of California-Berkley monitored a group of 87 married couples. To qualify for the study each couple had to have been married for at least 15 years, meaning all the couples were middle aged when the monitoring began.

Every 5-6 years the couples in the study visited the UC-Berkley marriage lab, and were videotaped having a conversation about an area of disagreement in their marriage.

Afterward, the video of each couple was evaluated by the researchers and the frequency of positive and negative emotional behaviors that occurred during the taped conversation were counted.

By following the same couples for 13 years, the researchers were able to compare any changes in the way each couple interacted with one another as they grew older over time.

Here is what the study found:

Negative emotional behaviors (defined as belligerence, defensiveness, fear, tension, and whining) DECREASED in couples the longer they were married.

Even better - positive emotional behaviors (defined as humor, enthusiasm, and validation) INCREASED the longer these same couples were married.

The study also found that the longer each couple stayed married the more pronounced this decrease of negative and increase of positive behaviors was.

The Takeaway: The longer a couple stays married, the less negative and the more positive their marriage becomes.

One of the study authors concluded:

“Our findings shed light on one of the great paradoxes of late life. Despite experiencing the loss of friends and family, older people in stable marriages are relatively happy and experience low rates of depression and anxiety. Marriage has been good for their mental health.”

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From A Christian Worldview

God created the institution of marriage. Therefore marriage is good.

Man and woman's sinfulness is what creates the 'bad' in marriages.

God repeatedly teaches in His Word that husbands and wives are to treat one another with love, honor, sacrifice, and respect. Failure to do this leads us to treat our mates just the opposite - with dishonor, selfishness, disrespect, and a lack of love.

No spouse should be expected to be happy and satisfied with being treated with these negative behaviors.

Each one of us must take responsibility for our own actions in the way we treat our spouse. It is wrong to treat our spouse in unloving, negative ways. We know better. But we do it anyway at times.

The Bible says,

So, for the one who knows the right thing to do and doesn’t do it, this is a sin. (James 4:17)

You violate God’s standard of love and marital behavior when you intentionally treat your spouse in a way you know is wrong.

You must have a desire to make your marriage work – no matter how difficult it might be to do so. Why?

Because the alternative to a successful marriage is divorce, and God “hates” divorce.

In Malachi 2:16, God states:

“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

This verse was written in a time when women did not have the legal right to divorce their husbands. Today they do. Therefore, this verse also applies to wives.

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The Bottom Line

If constant arguing and conflict are making you unhappy in your marriage - HANG ON! Things will likely get better over time.

But of MUCH MORE Importance: Don’t wait. Take action NOW to begin dealing with the behaviors that make you unhappy in your marriage.

1) Calmly TALK with your spouse about what you would like to see improve.

2) Do not ACCUSE or blame.

3) Clearly IDENTIFY the problem. (take each problem one at a time)

4) Search for agreed upon SOLUTIONS for change.

Want More Information?

Here are some previous marriage-strengthening articles we have posted on the www.mightyfamily.org website that might help:

What Makes Marriage Work

Strategies for Dealing with Difficult People

Want to Strengthen Your Marriage?

Improving Your Marriage

Want a Stronger, Healthier Marriage

Stop Making Negative Comments to Your Spouse

Important Note: I realize many marriage problems require more than a mere Internet article. But doing something helpful is better than doing nothing.

Seek professional help if you need to. In the meantime begin making some small changes (like treating your spouse with more respect) to see if the two of you can make things better on your own.

Before You Go

Thank you for reading this article!

Would you give me some assistance?

I think there are people in marriages out there struggling with the decision to leave or stay. Maybe they could benefit from the information I have shared in this article.

So, please, help me get this message out.

A simple ‘click’ to ShareComment &/or Like on your part may make all the difference in helping someone save their marriage.

For the Family,

--dr. bill

Reference

[1] http://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Femo0000551

Disclaimer

The information contained on this website/blog, mightyfamily.org, is for general information and educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical/mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

#marriage #conflict #commitment

© 2017 by IFP