Conflict in this life is inevitable, and it brings anxiety, depression, frustration, and isolation. Specifically, it is an unresolved conflict that is the problem. We will all experience conflict in life, but so much hinges on our ability to resolve conflict. If we do, we will turn our emotions around and begin to feel much better. Our connection with persons involved in the conflict will immediately improve. If, however, we do not resolve the conflict or at least some of it, we will continue to deal with those agonizing emotions.
Solomon wrote these wise words a very long time ago, but they are just as relevant today as the day they were written; “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:8-9). If we apply this to marital conflict, it looks like this. An argument can escalate quickly, separating the couple. A mature couple will look for a solution and move toward resolution. The immature couple will not, and the matter will only grow more severe. Their anger, like sharp knives, will cut each other, leaving them wounded and apart. What Solomon hopes we grasp here is that it is always better to be humble and look for a solution early in a conflict. If not, the conflict will become more complicated and inflict such pain and hurt that it will be very difficult to resolve later.
I like to call this learning to move toward resolution. When a couple fights, they will both be angry with defensive behavior and not know how to move forward. Escalation or resolution is possible, depending on how they move forward. They can continue escalating the conflict, or they can move toward resolution. The problem is that It is not easy to know where the point of resolution is located. However, they have to be patient with each other and slowly explore how they can move away from conflict and toward resolution.
It is as if they have to wait for the conflict to dissipate like fog. The conflict has left the couple with no resolution and has dulled their senses. When each person seeks personal vindication by attempting to persuade the other of the correctness of their position and the wrongness of the other’s position, they are stuck. They need to find and seek a resolution that will move them together. The point of resolution will not be visible in conflict, but they have to do the things that move them in that direction anyway. Later, they will be able to see the improvement much better. Mutual resolution is the distance between two defined points, point A conflict, and point B resolution. You act in a way that moves you in that direction regardless of how you feel, and your feelings catch up later. You don’t count whose turn it is to apologize; you do whatever it takes to remove the impasse. Later, you hope and pray for insight into your behavior and thoughts and share them with your spouse which generates greater resolution and more clarity and connection.