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Does a Couple Need to Deal with Every Single Marital Issue?

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To many husbands and wives, solving every single marital problem that arises means two completely different things concerning the quality of their marriage. Much of this stems from the different ways they each prefer to handle conflict.

For a wife, one of the main ways she feels love and wants to be loved by her husband is through peacemaking. She wants to resolve any and all issues between the two of them, and if necessary, she really needs to hear her husband say, “I’m sorry.” To resolve issues, clear up any misunderstandings, and hear her husband apologize to her fuels her “love tank” like nothing else can.

For a husband, he is often seeking to do the honorable thing, which to him is to not argue with his wife. In conflict, his heart rate can rise to 99 bpm, so in his mind, the honorable and loving thing to do is to walk away before he says or does something he truly resents. As well, to hear his wife and best friend criticize, complain, and express sorrow concerning him or their marriage siphons fuel from his “respect tank” faster than anything else can.

As a result, these core differences in how they prefer to handle conflict also affect how each views and prefers to handle even minor marital problems, as well as how they interpret the necessity of dealing with these smaller issues and what it means for the bigger picture.

Generally speaking, a wife's well-being in the marriage is affected positively by solving every little marital problem. So, if there is a small problem, she wishes to talk about every difficulty to resolve the dilemma and keep the relationship up-to-date, which for her prevents having a major marital problem. This isn't so with every wife, but most would probably agree. And those ladies who disagree probably fear what their husbands will do with their hurt feelings given they talked about them. They do want to talk, but fear stops them, not the lack of desire to talk. 

A husband's well-being in the marriage is affected negatively by solving every little marital problem. So, if there is a small problem, and she wishes to talk about every difficulty to resolve the dilemma to keep the relationship up-to-date, to him this means they have a major marital problem. To be sure, some men are bothered by the frustrations and want to talk about every feeling and detail, but not so for most guys. Most prefer to drop it and move on.

So, in general, she prefers talking about these things. He prefers not to talk about these things. 

In her opinion, voicing the negatives can clear the air and make things more positive. Her motive is to make things more positive between them. From his perspective, voicing the negatives makes things more negative. He desires to make things less gloomy. 

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider

1. Have you noticed these differences toward resolving minor marital problems in your marriage?

2. How have you handled it effectively? How have you not handled it effectively?

3. In your opinion, what should a husband and wife do as it pertains to working through every single marital issue, given they can relate to this description?