The Six Stages of Conflict

No relationship is without some amount of conflict. In his book, The Book of Romance, Tommy Nelson describes the six stages of a couple's fight.

Stage One: Both Parties Feel Harmed. When a couple feels they are "wronged, denied, misunderstood, or underappreciated," conflict is bound to happen.

Stage Two: A Change of Heart. In order for reconciliation to begin, someone must have a change of heart.

Stage Three: Reaching Out to Make Amends. This stage involves one person making the effort to resolve the conflict.

Stage Four: Communication. Silence will not solve a conflict -- only bury it where it will become a source of irritation. For conflict to be resolved, it must be brought out in the open.

Stage Five: Forgiveness. Forgiveness is key: it "restores confidence to both persons that the marriage is strong enough to endure conflict, and it brings about genuine peace in the hearts of both mates."

Stage Six: Greater Closeness and Joy. If conflict is resolved with unconditional love and forgiveness, the marriage can become even stronger than before.

Nelson concludes this important section of his book with these words of encouragement:
"Don't be discouraged or fearful when conflicts arise. Use them as building stones toward an even more wonderful marriage relationship. On the heels of this conflict and resolution we will see marriage at its most intimate."

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