In his book He Wins, She Wins, clinical psychologist, marriage counselor, and best-selling author Dr. Willard Harley says every conflict in your marriage is an opportunity to fall more deeply in love, and resolving conflict just to keep the peace is ineffective for growing a healthy marriage. Dr. Harley teaches the art of marital negotiation and shares the simple key that can build love for a lifetime.
“Every conflict in your marriage is an opportunity to fall more deeply in love.” Do you believe that? Dr. Harley says that, contrary to popular belief, men and woman are different, thus they approach situations differently. Their brains are different, their bodies are different. But as husband and wife, a man and a woman complement each other.
“God loves a cheerful giver.” How does this Scripture apply in marriage? Should we make sacrifices for our spouse? Bill says no, because sacrifice means someone loses. Bill is not willing that anyone should lose, thus we need to compromise so that both husband and wife win.
Here is Dr. Harley’s suggested model for approaching and solving conflict:
The Principle Of Joint Agreement
- Be cheerful about the conflict – make it safe and non-threatening. Don’t get angry – if one of you gets angry take a break.
- Try to understand each other. Ask your spouse how you really feel.
- Brainstorm – how can we reach a creative solution that will make both spouses happy?
How does this play out in conflict?
As hard as it may be in the moment, choose not to take it personally when your spouse disagrees – rise above your emotional reaction to rejection. In a strong and healthy marriage, you want the other one to win.