Is All Conflict Bad?

This short devotion addresses conflict in marriage and assures us that not all conflict is bad.

Is arguing a sign of a bad marriage?  

It depends what we mean by arguing. 

There's nothing wrong with disagreement. In fact, it's healthy.  As the old adage goes: “If the two of you agree on everything, then one of you is unnecessary.” 😊

It’s natural and healthy to have differences of opinion and even have heated discussions from time to time. But healthy marriages resolve the these differences in healthy ways. 

Please note I said RESOLVE. 

I've been married since 1970, and from my experience and the experience of other Christians I know, very few married couples always handle their differences maturely.

Marriage is 24/7 and that means we sometimes disagree when we’re tired, sleepy, passionate, hormonal, upset, discouraged, sick, etc. If we expect all conflict in our marriage to be mature, healthy, and kind, we’re going to be disappointed. 

This short devotion addresses conflict in marriage and assures us that not all conflict is bad.

Healthy marriages exist because spouses don't give up when things get "messy," and because they give each other lots of grace and forgiveness.

"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13 

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

We should strive to argue constructively and show self-control during disagreements, making it a matter of prayer to: 
  • Keeping our voice at a normal level.
  • Not making broad generalizations (e.g. “You always disappoint me.”).
  • Not bringing up unrelated grievances.
  • Not hitting below the belt (saying things that we know will deeply hurt or agitate our spouse).
When we fail to do these things, we can learn from our mistakes and pray that we will do better next time. 

This is where the RESOLVE part comes in. When we've blown it, we should repent in healthy, constructive ways. See my post about How to Apologize if you’d like some extra help in this area. 

And here are some Scriptures to recite and memorize if you have difficulty "fighting fair":

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29

Caveat: If you have an anger problem—if you run off, throw things, hit, scream, cuss, etc., you need to be daily memorizing Scripture verses about overcoming anger, and you need to set up an accountability relationship. This kind of behavior shouldn’t be a part of arguments, even "messy" ones.  See Scriptures to Help You Conquer Anger and 5 Tips for Biblical Anger Management.

See also: 3 Major Reasons for Conflict 

This is one of my weekly marriage posts, but I post a 1-Minute devotion each weekday on my home page. If you'd like to subscribe, Please find out how easy it is here: subscribe. Thanks! Gail 


  1. I always love your posts, Gail! Thanks for always linking up with The Alabaster Jar for Marital Oneness Mondays. What you share is exactly the type of content that I'm looking for on marriage!

  2. I agree that conflict can be a good sign. If there is never any conflict I believe that it can mean that someone isn't feeling safe enough to state their opinions. And that would be a bad sign! However, there are healthy ways to deal with differences!

  3. I like your thoughts about how to fight...keep voice level, don't hit below the belt, and don't generalize. Good reminders. Linking up from Mercy INK.

  4. Great reminders, thank you! as a "peace at all costs" person it is good to be reminded that not all conflict is bad!

  5. I always say that passionate arguments mean you passionately love--if you didn't you wouldn't put forth the effort! Great tips.

  6. I love this! Conflict can be good so long as we are respectful in how we speak to each other, as you mentioned. :) I just attended a marriage conference, and one of their points was to discuss instead of angrily argue. Be blessed! Lauren,

  7. Thank you for such an insightful post. Thankfully there isn't as much stress from arguments as, um, we mellow with the years. I love your marriage posts. What an encouragement.

  8. Oops...and thanks for linking up over at Haven of Rest this week. I love to open up and see your posts as I read down through the links.

  9. I like your list of suggestions. I tend to be quiet and allow him to rant. When a convenient time comes, I say my short piece to keep peace.