The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict – William Ellery Channing
For most of us conflict causes instant recoil. Flair-ups are uncomfortable to our framework for early-stage dating and we instinctively dodge them at all costs. It is no surprise then that accommodation and acquiescence are often hallmarks of the first month of a marriage-seeking relation-ship. Picture the awkward scene of a man and woman riding in the car batting back and forth the classic passive dateline, “I don’t know, where would you like to eat?”
Avoidance of any hint of disagreement in a relationship context can border on the absurd. In the name of peacekeeping, you may be tempted to stifle your own unique expression and dilute your personality. This tendency toward excessive conciliation can stunt your growth as a couple, lead to misrepresentation and set the stage for exacerbated combat in the future. Confident marriage seekers should respond to degrees of friction, providing a frequently missed opportunity. The secret is this – successful handling of your first conflictual entanglements can dramatically boost your relationship strength. Guy Burgess writes, “Conflict is the engine of social learning.”
Why A Fight Is A Key Part Of Launching Your Christian Dating Relationship
The discoveries made when our emotions flare up to allow us to adjust and correct in ways not possible with only a superficial understanding. It’s the heat that brings the residue to the surface.
I’ve heard it said that you are not truly friends with someone until you have been through a fight with them. It is the same with a marriage-seeking relationship. Until you experience the raised emotions of crossed personal swords with your new pursuit, you remain in the phony phase, the earliest stage of any relationship, where our posture is over-oriented toward impressing and pleasing the other. Simply put, we won’t truly be ourselves until we’ve gone through conflict. We just showcase the veneer. The sooner you are able to progress out of the phony phase the better. A fight is a solid bet. Ironically, our tendency is to avoid conflict early on in a relationship, even though we understand that every marriage relationship is a continual exercise in conflict management. Life brings tension and strong marriages must handle the pressure successfully! The absence of conflict suggests that one person is unduly subordinating his or her views or preferences to the other. Advising two marriage seekers to seek a sparring match almost sounds ridiculous, but that’s exactly what we are doing here.
Have you had experience dealing with conflict at the onset of a new Christian dating relationship or does the thought of instigating a showdown over something minor seems silly? Find out more targeted tactics for building sustainable dating resources inside our book, The First Thirty Days Launching Your Relationship Right.