Arguing with your spouse is something most married couples will inevitably experience. However, as Christians, we are called to handle conflict biblically and in a way that honors God. The Bible provides principles on how to resolve arguments in a healthy manner that strengthens, rather than destroys, the marriage relationship.
- Seek to understand your spouse’s perspective with empathy and active listening
- Address issues respectfully, without insult or mockery
- Be quick to apologize and seek forgiveness when needed
- Focus on resolving the problem, not winning the argument
- Seek wise counsel from mentors, pastors, or Christian counseling
- Pray together and submit arguments to God’s will and guidance
- Allow God’s love to guide interactions and cover over offenses
Understand Your Spouse’s Perspective
The first key to resolving marital arguments biblically is to make a sincere effort to understand your spouse’s perspective. As 1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV) says, “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” When tensions arise, avoid immediately voicing your own opinion or defending yourself. Instead, listen attentively as your spouse shares their thoughts and feelings. Ask clarifying questions to fully comprehend their point of view. Ephesians 4:2 (NKJV) instructs, “With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” Approach the conversation with humility and patience.
Proverbs 18:13 (NKJV) cautions, “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.” Do not assume you understand your spouse’s position or make snap judgements before thoroughly listening. James 1:19 (NKJV) admonishes, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Entering a disagreement with predetermined conclusions will only anger your spouse and hinder resolution. As Proverbs 18:2 (NKJV) warns, “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.” Lay aside your own opinions temporarily to understand your partner’s perspective.
Address Issues Respectfully
Another important biblical principle for resolving conflict is to interact respectfully, without resorting to insults or mockery. Galatians 5:26 (NKJV) states, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Put-downs and hurtful speech only breed more anger and conflict. As Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV) advises, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Adjust your tone and body language to facilitate calm, open dialogue with your spouse. As believers, we are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Season your words with grace and patience.
Additionally, do not dredge up past wrongs or mistakes, which Proverbs 17:9 (NKJV) warns only separates close friends. Address the current issue respectfully, without pointing fingers or accusing. Philippians 2:3 (NKJV) instructs, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Avoid attacking your spouse’s character or motivations. Assume the best of your partner’s intentions and treat them with the honor Romans 12:10 (NKJV) commands to, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”
Be Quick to Apologize and Forgive
As Christians, we should be quick to apologize when needed during marital conflict. James 5:16 (NKJV) exhorts believers to, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” If you have spoken disrespectfully, sinned against your spouse, or reacted poorly, humbly take ownership and ask for forgiveness. Proverbs 28:13 promises, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Allowing pride or stubbornness to prevent apologizing will impair true restoration.
Likewise, we are called to freely forgive others just as Christ forgave us. Colossians 3:13 (NKJV) charges, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Forgiveness should be extended regardless of whether the other person apologizes or acknowledges wrongdoing. Mark 11:25 (NKJV) encourages praying for forgiveness for those who have offended you when you stand praying. Bitterness and grudge-holding have no place in Christian marriages.
Focus on Problem Resolution
Rather than focusing on winning arguments or proving yourself right, aim to resolve the conflict biblically. As Romans 12:18 (NKJV) advises, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Passionately arguing your point is unlikely to sway your spouse. But identifying a solution that meets both people’s needs demonstrates wisdom and leadership. As Ecclesiastes 10:4 (NKJV) warns, “If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; for conciliation pacifies great offenses.” Be the bigger person by pursuing understanding and compromise.
Approach the process as a team effort, rather than a competition. Allow your spouse to share their ideas for resolution without resistance. Genesis 2:24 (NKJV) explains, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Submit your preferences to one another out of reverence for Christ, as Ephesians 5:21 (NKJV) instructs. A marriage thriving in unity requires mutual sacrifice. Focus on how you can understand your partner and serve the relationship, not selfish aims. With prayer and humility, you can find a path forward together.
Seek Godly Counsel
During difficult marital conflicts, it can also be wise to seek outside counsel. Proverbs 15:22 (NKJV) affirms, “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” Your pastors, small group leaders, or godly, mature Christian friends can offer valuable advice and mediate disagreements. Christian marriage counselors can also provide professional guidance and equip you with healthy communication and conflict resolution skills, if extensive help is needed.
Moreover, asking others to pray for unity in your relationship invites the Holy Spirit into the process. James 5:16 (NKJV) says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Share specifics only with trusted prayer partners who will intercede for you and keep details confidential. Lifting your marital struggles up to the Lord brings His power and wisdom to bear on the situation. Lean on your Christian community for support during tumultuous times.
One of the most powerful biblical solutions for resolving conflict with your spouse is to pray together. James 5:16 (NKJV) instructs, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” There is incredible healing when couples humble themselves before God and intercede on behalf of their marriage. Through prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to soften your hearts, grant forgiveness and humility, and reveal His will for restoring unity.
As Jesus taught in Mark 11:24 (NKJV), “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Come before God with expectant faith, believing your prayers for reconciliation will be answered. Leave requests in His faithful hands instead of taking matters into your own hands. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) promises, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Submit Arguments to God’s Will
Finally, resolving conflict requires surrendering your desires to God’s perfect will. As you pray together, acknowledge that God’s plans are higher than your own. Submit your preferences to what He knows is best. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) counsels, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Though you may not reach full agreement, entrust your arguments to the Lord and wait patiently on His timing and solutions.
Through humility and seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you can navigate marital disputes in a way that strengthens your bond and brings glory to God. Focus on understanding your spouse, offering grace, pursuing compromise, and allowing God’s love to soften your heart toward one another. James 4:1-2 (NKJV) explains, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? …You have not because you do not ask.” As you walk in step with God’s Word and Spirit, He will lead you into unity.
In conclusion, the Bible offers much wisdom on how to resolve arguments between spouses in a God-honoring manner. The principles of empathy, respect, forgiveness, problem-solving, seeking counsel, prayer, and surrender to God’s will allow couples to work through conflict in a transformative way. While disagreements will occur in all marriages, Christian husbands and wives have access to supernatural power and guidance to maintain the bond of peace. Walking in humility, patience and love – as Colossians 3:12-14 (NKJV) exhorts – enables believers to demonstrate Christlike unity even in the midst of turmoil and thus witness to the watching world the power of God’s redeeming love.