Finding Fulfillment in Following God

Possibly the most painful thing I’ve ever dealt with is the difference in opinion my husband and I have over conflict resolution. It might sound like a minor detail but since conflicts arise every day – parenting, changes of plans, miscommunications…. Some days being married feels like all you ever do is resolve conflict (Especially when you are bad at it)!

The worst part?

If you and your spouse resolve conflicts differently, minor issues become big problems really fast!

My Personal Testimony

I think problems need to be dealt with so that they don’t fester, and if that means having a loud and explosive argument, complete with lots of explaining, apologizing, hashing out, and making up, so be it.

He, on the other hand, is quiet and reserved. He prefers to let life handle its own problems, believing that time and truth will make all things clear in the end, and that peace and tranquility should reign no matter the cost. He values taking breaks and “sleeping” on issues.

But, I can’t “sleep on” anything!

If a problem goes unresolved for more than 10 seconds, I completely lose my mind. I can’t function or focus on anything but the issue at hand.

Besides, what about all that marriage advice that says, “Never go to bed angry?”

For 10 years, I have convinced myself to the very depths of my soul that my way was the only right way. There was no possible merit to “his” way.  No one can “fix” anything by “doing nothing”! I became completely convinced that that his “patience and thoughtfulness” was really withdrawal, cowardice, denial, avoidance, pouting, resentment, sullenness, laziness, un-manly-ness, weakness, and even demonstrative of a potential lack of intelligence.

Yes, I’m not proud of it, but I spent much of the last decade painting my husband as a dumb, cowardly villian who chose this role on purpose out of egotism and laziness.

But I was Wrong…

And somewhere deep down inside me, I knew this, I just couldn’t figure out how to align it with my reality, so I chose to reject it entirely.

It was poisoning me, and poisoning our marriage.

I knew this important element of a healthy relationship was going to be a difficult part of my everyday since even before we got married. In fact, it almost made me call off the wedding all those years ago. But, something deeper made me press on, despite my hesitations on the topic. I thought maybe it would all go away after we were married and “used to each other”, but it didn’t.

Newsflash for all the still unmarried out there: Problems don’t go away after marriage. They only get bigger!

The tension only built until a couple weeks ago when it exploded in a scene that shook me to the foundations of my marriage.

I won’t lie.  One little moment (ok, it was big) sent me into a devastating marriage spiral that I couldn’t see my way out of. For the first time, I felt trapped and hopeless, locked in a marriage doomed to resentment over never resolving anything.

It made me ask myself, “Do I regret this?”, “Was this all a mistake?”, “Will it always be like this?”, “What kind of life do we have to fashion so that we stay together for our kids and the sake of society, but limit our interaction to civilities so that we can avoid conflict all together?

My pain was obvious…

I’m a “heart-on-my-sleeve” kind of person. When something is wrong, everyone knows – even when I try to hide it. All I wanted was for my husband to leave the house so that I could try to pull myself together enough just to get through the day for the sake of my babies.

I would have been fine if I never saw him again. In fact, the longer he was gone the better.

But, then he came home from work, in the middle of the day – determined to find out “what my problem was”. It was all I could do not to lash out screaming, “You are my problem”.

But somehow,

In all my pain, and all my anger, my husband LOVED me. He dragged me out of myself. He took my onslaughts with his normal quiet manner, and acknowledged my anger and my concerns. In the end it was his habitual (and infuriating) calmness that tempered me out. His even keeled nature allowed him to endure my accusations and hear my heart. It was his peacefulness that enabled us not to spiral once again onto that “crazy cycle“.

And, I hated him for it.

However, it was in that moment that I realized for the first time that maybe there were some positives to our being different.

Maybe God did give Him to me for a reason. Maybe his infuriating “complacency” wasn’t all bad!

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Does God have a plan beyond what I can see?

If I am a Christian and I believe that our marriage is ordained to us as a calling from God, that we are made by Him specifically for each other, that He has blessed our union with His all-knowing, all-seeing power, then…

  • Who am I to doubt?
  • Who am I to question God’s plan?
  • Who am I to staunchly believe that my perceptions are always necessarily truth?
  • Who am I to reject this gift that God is clearly giving to me for my own good?

Difficult Conflict Resolution in Marriage

But at the same time?

What am I to do when our conflict resolution styles are different?

When this problem threatens to rear it’s ugly head again… what do I do?  How can I avoid the usual frustration?


The first step is acceptance.  Accept:

  • That I could be wrong
  • That the other person’s method might have some merit (even if I can’t see it)
  • That there might be something bigger at play here
  • That the other person might actually love you (even when it doesn’t feel like it) – and truly have your best interests at heart – even when they seem to be acting selfishly  (Believe that they are “Good-willed”)
  • That their strengths might actually make up for my weaknesses even if I don’t understand them

But, these things can be much easier said than done…

The Biggest Obstacle to Acceptance


  • Thinking that you know everything – and that nothing you don’t understand could have merit
  • Thinking that your perception must be right
  • Believing that your way is necessarily the best way

Read also: 2 Prayers to Keep us Humble

How can I overcome this relational Pride?

One word…


The only thing we can do sometimes is trust.

  • Trust God’s plan.

Did God put us together for a reason?  Is there more I can learn (link to lessons learned article) from this?

  • Trust that God desires my happiness and a healthy marriage in every aspect – even if it requires overcoming difficulties to achieve it.

Therefore, he put you with someone who is meant to round you out – even when it hurts.

  • Trust, that ultimately, even if the other person doesn’t know how to show it your way – they do love you.

Dr. Emerson Eggerich‘s says, “You have to believe that your spouse is “Good-willed”

Never assume they are “out to get you”, even when it feels like there is no other possible explanation.

Read also:


Silence is often the best teacher. The silence of patience, the silence of prayer (asking God to give you understanding of why this struggle is there.), the silence of refusing to react when provoked (not letting emotion take over).

Read also: Do I talk to much? – Learning to Control the Untamed Tongue

God’s Teachable Moments

My sister once said to me, “If God wants me to teach me anything, He’s going to have to hit me over the head with a 2×4”

We had a good laugh at the time… but the more I think about it, the more I believe she was onto something there.

Don’t we all need more than just a little nudge in the right direction sometimes?

Sometimes it takes getting knocked off our high horses and blinded on the ground like Saul, to finally get the memo. That 2×4 is what forces us us to slow down long enough to gather our bearings and see all the little nudges that had been building up before.

The most powerful lessons are the ones we suffer the most to learn.

Difficult Conflict Resolution in Marriage

I never could have learned this lesson if it had been any less painful, nor if I had been any less convinced that my way was the right way.

So, maybe now I can look to the future with Gratitude.

Gratitude for a husband I don’t always understand, because he truly makes up for what I lack.

Gratitude that God gives me what I need (even when I don’t think I want it).

There is beauty beyond that which you can see.

Will you trust enough to find it?

#togetherinthetrenches #ParticularlyCALLED #IamCALLED

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