Read through these conflict guidelines and scriptures for resolving the issues at hand. Talk together, as a married couple, if you should use them for resolving conflict with each other. You may even want to adapt them to best suit your needs.
Pray Together Before Using These Conflict Guidelines
We will start by praying together for tender hearts and wisdom. We commit to come together in a spirit of humility and reconciliation. As a marital team, we acknowledge that we need to consider the health of our marriage as being more important than our individual interests.
- Psalm 139:23-24 — Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
- Proverbs 2:1-5 — If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
- Proverbs 3:7 — Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil.
- Proverbs 11:2 — When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Remember when resolving conflict:
- Proverbs 16:18 — Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
- Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 26:12)
- Philippians 2:3-4 — Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
- James 3:17-18 — Wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
- 1 Peter 1:13 — Prepare your minds for action. Be self-controlled. Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Act maturely in listening and speaking
We commit to handle ourselves with maturity —being quick to listen and slow to speak. We will reach for the goal of continually trying to better understand each other.
- James 1:19 — My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
- Proverbs 1:5 — Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.
- Proverbs 10:8 — The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
- A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. (Proverbs 15:18)
- The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. (Proverbs 15:28)
- Proverbs 16:23 — A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
- He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame. (Proverbs 18:13)
- Proverbs 18:17 — The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
- Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20)
- 1 Corinthians 13:11 — When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
- 1 Corinthians 14:20 — Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.
Respectfully honor one another.
We will speak the truth in love —respectfully honoring each other’s feelings.
- Proverbs 16:23 — A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
- Proverbs 10:29 — The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.
- Ephesians 4:15 — Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is that Head, that is, Christ.
- Proverbs 12:18 — Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
- Proverbs 17:27 — A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
- Ephesians 4:29 — Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
- Proverbs 18:2 — A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.
No provoking or name-calling
We won’t allow our discussion to escalate into yelling or name-calling. And we will refrain from provoking each other by delivering “cheap shots.” By this we mean sarcasm, innuendos, and rudeness, which complicates the issues. If that happens we’ll call for a time-out and come back together at an agreed upon time.
- Proverbs 4:24 — Put away perversity from your mouth keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
- Proverbs 13:3 — He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
- 1 Corinthians 13:5 — Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs.
- Proverbs 8:7-8 — My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All of the words of my mouth are just. None of them is crooked or perverse.
Keep in Mind:
- Proverbs 18:21 — The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
- 1 Peter 2:11 — Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
- Proverbs 29:11 — A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
- Galatians 5:15 — If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
- Ephesians 4:26, 31 — In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
- Titus 3:2 — Remind the people to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
No mind-reading required
We commit to MEAN what we say. This is so neither one of us has to try to read the other person’s mind.
- Proverbs 11:3 — The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
- Proverbs 21:28 — A false witness will perish. Whoever listens to him will be destroyed forever.
- Matthew 5:37 — Simply let your “Yes” be “Yes”, and your “No,” “No”. Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
- James 5:12 — Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no or you will be condemned.
- Proverbs 24:26 — An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.
We will stick to the subject on hand. We will not allow our discussion to sidetrack onto any other grievance at this time. We will discuss other issues at other times.
- 1 Corinthians 14:40 — Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
- Proverbs 4:25-26 — Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
- Proverbs 4:27a — Do not swerve to the right or the left.
- 1 Peter 4:7 — The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
Guard your mouth
We will avoid using “never” and “always” statements —seeking to be accurate, truthful, and realistic in what we say.
- Proverbs 11:1 — The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.
- Proverbs 21:23 — He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.
We will work not to judge each other—but rather seek to express our own feelings over the matter.
We will speak to each other in what is termed, “I feel” statements (explaining our own perspective) rather than in “you” statements pointed at our spouse accusing them of feelings they may or may not have. (An example of this would be: “I feel lonely when you’re gone so much,” rather than “You never come home.”)
- Proverbs 15:28 — The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
- Matthew 7:1-2 — Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Don’t play the innocent one
We will refrain from playing the “blame game.” We will each look for the plank in our own eye—rather than the speck in our spouse’s.
- Proverbs 16:2 — All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.
- Proverbs 21:2 — All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.
- Plus: Proverbs 19:3 — It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
- Matthew 7:1-5 — Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother; “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
- 1 Peter 3:8 — All of you, live in harmony with one another. Be sympathetic, love as brothers; be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
DO say, “I’m sorry”
We will readily apologize and sincerely ask for forgiveness for whatever way that we have hurt our spouse. We will also apologized for our behavior, if it has caused marital relationship tension.
- Matthew 5:23 — If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother. Then come and offer your gift.
- Matthew 6:14 — For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
- Luke 17:3-4 — If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, “I repent,” forgive him.
Do forgive; don’t keep reminding
We will work to forgive each other as Christ has forgiven us. We will not remind our spouse again of the pain for which we’ve said we’ve forgiven them. And we’ll make daily choices not to dwell on those painful thoughts in the future.
- Matthew 5:9 — Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
- Romans 12:18 — If it is possible as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
- Romans 14:19 — Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
- 2 Corinthians 10:5 — We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
- Ephesians 4:32 — Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
- Colossians 3:13 — Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
- Hebrews 12:14-15 — Make every effort to live in peace with all men to be holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
- 1 Peter 5:16 — Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
End in prayer
Lastly, we will end our time together in prayer. We will give thanks for what we’ve learned about our relationship with each other. We will each ask God to bless our spouse and help us to be a blessing to them knowing that is our mission because of our marriage vows.
- Proverbs 16:3 — Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
- Philippians 1:9-10 — And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.
- Colossians 3:15 — Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. As members of one body you were called to peace.
- Hebrews 13:20 — May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 — Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.
Make it a Priority to:
- Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)
- James 5:16 — Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
- 1 Peter 3:8-9 — Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another. Be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
About these Guidelines with Scriptures
These guidelines came to us from various sources. Some are suggested, some are our own, and some came from other sources that had no authors attached. (We’re sorry to say we can’t give proper credit to them.) We pray they will help you work to resolve your own relational conflicts within your marriage.
Please know that within the Communication and Conflict topic of this web site there is a less detailed version of this document. We hope you’ll review it together, going through each point with the corresponding scriptures.
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