This is the seventeenth in a series of what traits to look for in a life mate. While the following sets a high standard, one that perhaps few will initially reach, each area identified is an important character trait to look for and inquire about as you consider a lifelong marriage partner.
17. Does this person handle conflict well? What is his/her method of handling conflict in life? Can this person deal with conflict in a healthy manner and effectively work through differences? Does this person avoid it, ignore it or internalize his/her feelings? Does he/she get angry and sulk, get loud and verbally abusive or respond physically? Does this person seek humility or self-justification? (Proverbs 11:2; 15:1; 22:24; 29:11, 22)
I Corinthians 13: 5 tells us that love is not easily angered and does not keep record of wrongs. Do you ever find yourself tempted to keep a mental note of those who hurt you? In NASCAR auto racing they call it “pay backs.” In other words, you wreck me, be assured sometime when the right opportunity surfaces, I will wreck you. Social scientists tell us that the number one determining factor of whether or not a marriage will make it is the ability of the couple to properly deal with conflict. Did you get that? It is not connected to whether or not you have conflict or how much conflict, but what is your ability to actually work through the conflict. Two questions to consider: How did your family deal with conflict? How do you tend to handle conflict?
Historically, the family I was raised in pretended that the conflict did not happen and we would continue through our day not dealing with it and consequently never find any solution to the issue. If you can maturely work through a conflict to the point of a satisfactory resolve, you are ahead of the game. Arguing with ongoing heated words over the “problem” as you see it, will keep you from maturely arriving at a solution. The next time you find yourself in a conflict, try steering the disagreement toward a solution sooner. You’ll be amazed at the difference.