Don’t Forget This When Conflict Erupts In Your Marriage

Guest Post from John Weirick

john-weirick-profile-pic-ccabalka-e1400552721855This week’s post is from guest blogger John Weirick. John Weirick is a writer in Greenville, South Carolina, hungry for knowledge, adventure, and doing things that matter. He’s writing a book about growing through change, conflict, and relationships, which you can learn more about at Find him and say hello on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.


Madly In Love

My wife and I had been married just over a year and we couldn’t stand each other.

Well, I don’t know exactly what she was thinking, but I couldn’t stand her.

It was uncharacteristically hot where we were traveling in Oregon and the hotel she booked for us didn’t have air conditioning. Or ceiling fans. Or a personal shower. Or a personal bathroom. I couldn’t believe it.

I didn’t have anything good to say, so I stayed furiously angry in silent scorn for her. How could she have missed it? How was I supposed to get any sleep when I couldn’t even stay cool? I had trusted her but she messed up. I didn’t care if our relationship felt unstable; I was ready for a fight.

The Truth About Conflict and Marriage

The truth is that no marriage is immune to conflict. It’s inevitable that we’ll have reasons to be mad at each other because we always fail each other in some way.

If you’re married and you’re reading this, you know it’s true.

The question then changes from “how can we avoid conflict?” to “how can we get through this conflict?”

We have by no means figured marriage out. However, we’ve learned a few things you might find useful, too.

3 Things To Remember When Your Marriage Suffers Conflict

1. Yes, you can be angry.

Experiencing the emotion of anger isn’t a sin; God actually wants us to be angry but not sin (Ephesians 4:26).

When you’re angry in your marriage, that’s fine. Just don’t let that anger stop you from communicating.

When communication stops, conflict grows the most dangerous. (tweet that)

Keep the lines of dialogue open the morning after an argument. Even if you hate each other’s guts in the moment, commit to revisit the issue at a time when you’re both prepared to respectfully unpack what the conflict looks like from your perspective and be willing to hear out the other person.

2. No, you don’t need to solve every conflict.

The first years of our relationship, we had operated under the assumption that conflicts happened but we were supposed to fix them. If we didn’t find a resolution right away, or at least soon, then our marriage would crack and eventually crumble. But like most assumptions in relationships, we were so wrong.

Conflict in marriage isn’t a problem to be solved, but a tension to manage. (tweet that)

Some of the conflicts in your marriage aren’t solvable because you are still two different people learning to be one (Mark 10:8). The conflict isn’t because of your relationship, but because of you.

It’s OK and good that you’re two unique individuals with various preferences, perspectives, and methods. Those differences fuel conflicts in your marriage, yes, but they also enable you to work together through them and continue to respect and love each other regardless, even when you least deserve it (Ephesians 5:33).

3. Conflict can be good.

Conflict can actually be good for your marriage if you let it. When you get into a tense conversation, or the tone of a disagreement turns hostile toward each other’s character, it’s going down a road that only leads to regret. But if you’re using the frustration of the moment to communicate more clearly what you see and feel and then listen to each other, you’ll be working toward a better connection than if you hadn’t had the conflict at all.

So step into the ring of marriage—not to hurt each other, but to learn to fight well and figure out a way forward together.

Read more about conflict, relationships, and intentional living at

Will I Ever Change?

Part 2

Change. What does it take? How can you and I actually make a lasting change in any or many areas of our lives? If you’re like me, you want to grow and become a better person than you are today.

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In my last post, I challenged you to think of an area in life where you have experienced change, and what helped bring that about.

I shared with you one personal area of change that has taken place in my life, and the first two agents of change I am aware of that helped me. That area of change was in becoming a walker. Now I don’t mean just any ol’ walker. I mean a genuine, get off your duff, and get some exercise walker! It’s where you walk every day, once or twice a day. You walk at a good pace, sometimes you do intervals between fast and slow walking. Ok, you get the point. Anyway, I hated going on walks when first married but my wife loved it. Now I love it too.

How did that happen? What were the change agents?

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Will I Ever Change?

Plus a FREE giveaway!

I don’t know about you but sometimes I look back at my life and wonder – have I changed that much? Am I growing as a person? I still am drawn to various temptations. I have long struggled with deep feelings of inadequacy and often still do. My frustration levels at life still rise higher than I like and more frequently than I wish. I find myself not patient with the driver in front of me. I don’t like it when my wife tells me how to drive or where to go, and I tell her so! I regularly think to myself, and say to Zerrin, “I’m a mess!”

Madly In Love

Can we really change? If so, what does it take?

We are now three months into the New Year. I don’t know the percentages, but my guess is that most people who made their New Year resolutions have already fallen off the bandwagon. It is a frustrating and disappointing experience.

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Give This Gift To Everyone Around You

Time and again we have heard people say: can we use PLEDGE in other settings besides our marriage? And we want to shout YES YOU CAN! We have heard people using it with their children, with their friends, with their parents, in their workplace, and even in politics!

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Because of this – we are rebranding our ministry to help you use the principles of PLEDGE wherever you go. During this project, we have come up with all kinds of names and phrases we might use to describe what we do. One such phrase we considered was this: “Hear me in.” Normally we hear someone say “Please. Just hear me out!” It is often said with frustration, in an attempt to get someone to just listen. So what is meant by “hear me in?”

Recently I was struck again with the thought that everyone has a story inside them. I was saddened and convicted that too often I don’t stop to hear their story. Sometimes, I even forget there is one. Nevertheless, there are deep things going on inside each of us. There is a story about our life growing up. There is story that has been lived out in our relationships as adults.

There is story each day we could tell – if there was someone to listen.

And that’s the catch…

if there is someone to listen.

Hear me in… the pain I feel. The anger I exhibit. The depression I experience. The addiction I cannot overcome. Hear me in those moments when I attempt to open up, as feeble as it may be. Hear me in the confusion that washes over my face when you talk to me. Hear me when I am silent, not knowing what to say. Hear me when I talk non-stop, keeping you at bay.

There is story waiting to be heard at every moment, with every person.

Taking time to listen is a gift we can give day after day, every day.

It is a gift to our spouse, a gift to our children, a gift to a friend, a gift to someone we work with, a gift to our neighbor, and a gift to the stranger on the street or the check-out person in the store.

This week I had the honor and privilege of being the guest author/speaker in my wife’s class with her second graders. It was great fun! I got my little kid fix! My wife is teaching PLEDGE to these children. As I was talking to them about pausing when they are mad, I asked if they had ever heard of the Golden Rule. Most had not. I taught them about treating others just like we would want them to treat us. They didn’t like it when someone said mean things to them. They didn’t want to say mean things to others either. Instead, they just want someone to listen when they are mad or hurt.

Everything we needed to learn for life we learned in – ok, second grade.

We all just want someone to listen.

When we are mad, or hurt, or afraid, or sad, or confused, or discouraged, or excited and happy and encouraged – we want to share our story with someone – if they will just listen.

So today, look around you. Watch for those moments when someone, some where, in some way is saying: “Will you hear me in _______?”

Ask them questions like:

How are you?

What is happening?

How are you feeling about ____?

If they give you a quick, brushed off answer, say: “No I mean it. How are you really?”

And give them the gift of listening to their story!

Share with us how you listened this week!

Here’s A Perfect Valentine’s Day Idea For YOU!

Here is a simple observation: most couples love each other, but don’t know how to show it when they experience difficulties in their relationship. What do we do when we are at odds? How do we respond when hurt by the other? How are we supposed to react when we are angry?

Madly In Love

These and other such questions were the very reason I wrote the book: The PLEDGE of a Lifetime, Her Hope for Connection, His Guide Through Conflict. It has been one year since its publication. I have heard story after story from those who have read it how much they learned and how it has helped their relationships.

One person spoke of how she has read the book, and is now re-reading it because there is so much to grasp.

Many others have purchased multiple copies to give to their grown children to help in their marriages.

What do we do? How do we respond? How should we react? These and similar questions are all clearly answered in my book.

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When You Can’t Trust Your Spouse

I have heard it from both sides: “I can’t trust him – not after he hurt me like he did.” OR, “No way, I could never trust her again – not after what she did!”

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Much is said about how and when to trust again. Genuine repentance over a wrong done is a necessary beginning step. There is also a goodness in overlooking some things as we give each other grace. I am so thankful how many times my wife has “forgiven” me for not getting everything at the store as I said I would.

My focus in this post however, is to understand how three components of trust are necessary to bring healing to a relationship.

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5 Steps To Excelling in 2016

Towards the end of last year, I found myself troubled about the level of stress and frustration I was experiencing in life more often than not. I decided to do something about it and made a personal commitment to seek counsel. I’m glad I did. I gained some important insights about myself and some of the internal motivations that were driving me. Keeping what I learned in mind is helping me begin the New Year in a better way.

Madly In Love

How about YOU? I have an idea…

As we start off 2016, what is going well in your life right now? And what is not going well? Where are you hurting? In which areas of life do you find yourself most anxious and frustrated? Where would you like to excel? Consider taking some time to do what I did and seek counsel. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you do:

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The Wonder Of His Love

I see it quite often as I counsel with people. I am aware of its affect on me daily. It is an experience we all long for, and yet are most afraid of. It is the desire to be known–fully known, and still accepted. The more we are known and accepted, the more we feel safe and loved.

Madly In Love

It is true of me however, as I am sure it is just as true of you. There are parts of me I don’t want to be seen or known because I am afraid of how you might respond. Will you roll your eyes, tell me you don’t understand, tire of my struggles, or walk away in disgust? Or will you listen to know me, identify with my struggles, and thank me for sharing? Those are the questions and fears we encounter in our relationships every day.

We want to relax and know that even in the midst of all the good and bad we see in ourselves, that we are still loved. We grow weary of hiding behind walls. But we are afraid.

In our fear, we dance out of step in our relationships, just enough to keep anyone from getting too close. We want to be known but we don’t.

Soon we will be celebrating Christmas. I love Christmas for a host of reasons including the joy of giving and receiving gifts. Another reason is because of the name–Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” Every year I get lost in amazement over that name of Jesus.

There was a time, all the way back in the beginning, when God was with man–in the Garden of Eden. We don’t know how long it lasted, but we do know it ended. Adam and Eve made a decision to walk in a direction other than God wished for them. The result was separation. God remained in the Garden. Mankind was set outside. They were no longer with each other.

From that day until now, man has felt an aloneness he was never meant to experience. And from that day until now, God’s heart has been to reunite us with Him.

We saw it first in the beginning of the Bible when God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle wherein He could meet with Moses. God said: “I will live among the people of Israel and be their God.” (Exodus 29:45) Do you see? God longed to be with His people. Immanuel, God with us.

Then we see it later in the Bible where Jesus–who was God in flesh–came so He could live and make His home among us. (John 1:14) Immanuel!!

Think about it. What leader of a country or King of any nation has ever wanted to live among his people? And yet God–the King of all Kings–longs to do that very thing! IMMANUEL!

It gets even better. Jesus called His followers “friends.” (John 15:15)

You and I are invited to follow Jesus so that He might call us friends! He wants to know us and for us to know Him.

Recently I was talking with a friend about how much we enjoy our relationship. My wife and I regularly talk about how much we enjoy being with each other. Wonderful and rich experiences, and yet I am lost in amazement that God Himself wants to know and enjoy us!

This Christmas season, take some time to reflect on the idea that God wants you close to Him. He wants to be with you. That is why He sent Jesus to earth. He really does love you and me! God wants to be your friend. He wants to be known by you. Through Him, we can experience the satisfaction of the greatest longing of our hearts–to be fully known and yet fully loved.

Remember IMMANUEL!

Beyond Marriage

Using PLEDGE In Your Family

One of the questions we are inevitably asked each time we teach the Madly in Love PLEDGE Conference is: Can we use these principles in other relationships than in our marriage? Can we use them for example with our kids or extended family?

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And we always respond with a resounding: YES!!!

Here is what one of our our recent attendees said when she went home from the conference and began teaching her 4 and 7 year old:

“We started implementing this in our marriage, AND with our four young children, right away. My seven and six-year-olds are already responding positively when they see me do the pause sign during the conflict between them! Thank you for this new tool!

This same person said even further: “Even after such a short time, I’ll hear my seven-year-old son comment to himself, pause and shift, when he gets frustrated with his sister!”

Imagine similar experiences in your home:

A mother stops what she is doing when her angry daughter speaks to her. She turns towards her daughter with the intent of really listening. As the mother seeks to understand her heart, the daughter feels loved and her heart softens. Mom disarms the conflict by validating her daughter’s hurt and angry feelings. Both feel closer, thankful for the connection they experience. As the tension in the room subsides, the daughter expresses more of an openness to hear what mom has to say in response.

That same daughter begins to note the destructive nature of her words towards her mother. Convicted, she learns to pause before she speaks. She considers more carefully her words and how to express her anger, but in a loving way.

In another family, two children are playing when a conflict occurs over who grabbed the new toy first. Mom is about to intervene before either hurts the other, but before she can say anything, the older child uses a hand motion to signal they need to pause. Moments later, the children agree to give each other a turn rather than fight.

As the kids get older, each family member learns to listen well and understand each other when communicating. Each one reflects on what the other is saying, clarifying wherever needed, and valuing what is said. Imagine a family where felt love is more common than not because of the way each member relates to the other.

You say: “Is that really possible?” More than you think.

It will not be easy. It will take work. More specifically it will require that you first put the principles into action in the way you relate to your spouse and your children. After doing so, you then teach and train your children to follow after you.

There is no greater joy or satisfaction or calling than pursuing a life of love!

Learn more of the PLEDGE process and how it can positively affect and deepen your relationships here.

Thank YOU!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, I am aware of being thankful for so many things in my life beginning with a God who is for me, and a wife and family that are too. In this post however, I want to highlight one thing in particular that I am especially thankful for.

Madly In Love

There are a number of couples and individuals who come to mind that I have known or worked with over the last few years, who refused to give up on their marriage, even when only one spouse was interested in doing the work. Rather than stay in a mindset of anger and bitterness, they did what they could do to change and grow personally.

In some situations, it made all the difference in the marriage, as the other spouse responded positively to the changes. Sadly, in some cases the other spouse still refused to take necessary steps of change themselves. It is to YOU–who have done all you could do–that I want to say “thank you!”

I thank each and every individual and couple who has stayed the course in their marriage and family even when the course was tough. Here’s why:

You are an encouragement to me and all those around you! There are many like you as well as Zerrin and I, who are continuing to run the race and want to do it well to the end. And when you run hard and do what you can to stay the course, it keeps us encouraged and strengthened to do the same. So I say thank you!  THANK YOU to each and every one of you!

May we all keep our eyes on the finish line with the anticipation of one day soon hearing the words from God Himself:  “Well done!”

Zerrin and I pray that you will enjoy a wonderful time of Giving Thanks this week!