I’m a person who avoids conflict. I don’t even like disagreeing comments on my Facebook page, so it’s hard for me to face a real life conflict without running away and avoiding it. However, conflict is an inevitable part of life, especially with the close relationship of marriage. After all, you’re not the same person, so you’re not always going to agree. So, when I saw the book, Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight, I thought it sounded like an interesting take on marital conflict.
I was right. The DeArmonds, with over 40 years of marital experience, are very quick to remind couples that it’s okay that disagreements and conflicts come up. However, the way that you respond to those conflicts can make or break your marriage. So, they begin by considering the baggage we bring into our marriage and the communication styles that work when you have conflict in your marriage. Then, they discuss different conflict styles, traps you can fall into in communicating, and how bringing up the past as a weapon is not helpful for your relationship. They then give you some rules to help you create boundaries in your fighting and some steps for building a unified life together.
I found this to be an interesting read. I think one of my favorite points that they made in the book was that, when we argue with our spouses, we’re in danger of playing into Satan’s hands. He wants our marriages to break up, so we should think of resolving conflict as a way of fighting the enemy for the life and health of our marriage. I think that sums up how important resolving conflict in your marriage is.
Another part of this book that really touched me was the communication trap of sulking. There have been times in my marriage (what feels like forever ago now), where I would find myself grumbling and complaining about my spouse in my head. This section reminded me that complaining about our spouses is very close to murmuring against God’s plan the way the Israelites did in the wilderness. It’s so important to accept your spouse for who they are and how they love you instead of grumbling and complaining and wishing they were different people. After all, you chose the spouse you have 🙂
I think one thing that they didn’t discuss much that would have strengthened this book is extending grace to spouses. Most spouses are not looking for conflict in their marriage and want to have happy marriages. Sometimes, we have to remember our love for them and just allow ourselves to extend them grace and make peace. I do, however, like the fact that their keys to managing these conversations is so graceful by setting boundaries against things such as personal attacks and certain trigger phrases.
Another thing that isn’t addressed in a book that surprised me in a book about marriage and conflict for Christians is that they didn’t address the topic of Biblical submission at all. It’s mentioned so often in the letters of the New Testament as part of instructions to wives that it was surprising not to see it come up at all in the book. I would have liked to have heard their take on how submission ties into different aspects of marital conflicts and when it’s better to submit to your spouses’ lead.
Overall, this is an excellent book for working out conflict, but I found it a little lacking in discussion of some Biblical concepts of marriage and how they tie into our conflicts and their resolution. This reads like a work of psychology with some Bible tied in, and I would have referred a book about Biblical marriage and conflicts and the psychology and psychological techniques to be in the background.
However, don’t just take my word for it, if you think this would be a book that would be helpful for your marriage, I have a great opportunity for you today! Five lucky entrants get the opportunity to win a copy of the book for themselves. Just click on the picture below to get started!!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.