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Author shares ways to battle conflict in marriage

Dr. Greg Smalley with Focus on the Family, along with his wife, Erin, will present a free marriage conference in Oklahoma City.
by Carla Hinton Published: January 5, 2013
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Q: Can you talk a little more about this process?

A: In a marriage, when conflict comes up, he shuts down, she shuts down, their hearts close. Then we just get in this cycle. So part of the hope is to really show couples, here's what's really going on. It's not about money. It's not about your job. It's not about sex. It's not about the kids. Those are topics. It's when you deal with those things, your heart closes and then you react. The hope is if you can get that, the next question is if instead of reacting when my buttons get pushed, what should I do? In the book, it lays out hey, when my buttons get pushed, I need to deal with me first. Long before I try to talk to my wife or deal with the issue, I need to get my heart back open. Instead of reacting by yelling, or withdrawing or defending myself or whatever the reaction might be, I need to deal with that stuff. The first step is I've got to deal with me first. Once my heart is open, I'm ready to be a listener. I teach people how to really do that. Once we kind of have an opportunity to really hear each other, then we can solve something as a team.

Q: So conflict is natural?

A: It's absolutely inevitable. In any relationship, you're going to step on toes. My attitude with couples is that you are going to fight. Learn how to do it right. It's sad when couples feel they need to avoid conflict.

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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