So You Want to Stop the Stupid Conflict
By Justin Talbert
We were 30 minutes into the argument. The gloves were off.
At this point we were acting more like demons than humans. You resonate, don’t you? Literal screaming. Name-calling. Warping each other’s words to mean different things.
Then she opened the pantry door too fast. It smacked her right on the nose.
She whimpered, turned toward me, and buried her head in my chest. Then we went and watched a movie.
Conflict in marriage is inevitable. Let’s just say it. But there are different kinds. There’s the serious conflict and the stupid conflict. In my marriage, stupid conflict is more frequent.
Here, we were brawling, yes. But it was ultimately over nothing.
On rewind: a single misunderstanding, leading to a defensive reaction, leading to a flare of pride, leading to a mean word, leading to a rush of emotion, leading to a “you always do this!”, leading to a “you never do this!”, leading to…
You get it.
In the heat of the moment, it’s so easy to lose perspective. To forget we’re on the same team. To not sacrifice my own pride.
Losing perspective is, in my experience, the primary cause of “stupid” fighting. This is why the Bible emphasizes self-control (Titus 1:8). This is why the Holy Spirit graciously produces this fruit within us (Galatians 5:22-23).
When Jesus cleanses the temple in John 2, overturning the tables and dumping out the money, He is greatly angered. But God’s purposes and kingdom—not Jesus’ own agenda—are front and center.
He had perspective. And, in grace, with the Holy Spirit tasked as our Helper, so can we. Even when we’re tempted to get stupid.
The good stuff: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Action points: Take a moment and think through three to five things your spouse does that set you off. Then, pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen your self-control next time he/she does one of them.
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