Learn to Wear Conflict Like You Wear Lingerie

conflict in marriage

What do a black lace teddy and conflict have in common? If you’re in either of them too long, they can creep into places they were never designed to go. And, when they do, uh. . . you’ve got more trouble than a little discomfort.

Let me explain. I’ve had the unpleasant experience of wearing a teddy for eight hours. I was a 22 year-old newlywed. I laughed in the face of gravity, and airport security was nothing like it is today. After an extended business trip, I wanted to surprise my husband so I flew home from Indianapolis, Indiana, to Lawton, Oklahoma –829 miles–wearing nothing but a black teddy and an overcoat.

What I intended for good didn’t turn out so good. Winter storms and weather delays turned a 2-hour trek into an eight-hour teddy induced wedgie-wearing nightmare. My booty was on fire.

I’d checked my bags so I didn’t have the option to change into something else. The situation had turned hazardous. Same thing happens when we let conflicts linger too long in our marriages or try to resolve them in unhealthy ways.

What would happen if we treated conflict in our marriages like we treat lingerie?

1. We’d look for ways to get out of it quickly.

2. We’d handle it with care.

Lingerie isn’t designed for comfort. You’re not supposed to be in it long. Same goes for disagreements with your spouse. We shouldn’t avoid them, but we shouldn’t stay in them long either.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit those were the most uncomfortable eight hours of my life. Sometimes . . . being uncomfortable for a little while pays off big in the long-run.

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Maybe you’ve never flown cross-country with a giant crack-burning wedgie (and I wouldn’t advise it), but you’ve probably been in other uncomfortable situations. Maybe you fight with your husband over and over about the same thing. Maybe your disagreements last longer than they should. Maybe you have ongoing disputes with your mother-in-law or a neighbor or a co-worker.

No one likes the discomfort of disagreements, but they happen. There’s no benefit to either avoiding disagreements or lingering in them.

Marriages don’t break-up overnight. When trouble shows up in paradise, deal with it. Don’t make the mistake of allowing disagreements to edge out unity in your marriage.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no pro at conflict resolution. Sometimes I let things go on longer than I should.

Traveling eight hours in a teddy in mid-winter was miserable. The plane was sweltering. I couldn’t take off my coat. The lining stuck to me like Saran wrap. And, I resisted urges to scratch inappropriate places all the way home.

The discomfort of dealing with conflict is worth it. When it comes to conflict–like wearing lingerie–get out of it quickly and preserve the harmony of your relationship.

After eight hours of teddy torture, I figured I could rock granny panties for the rest of our marriage. I’d earned it.

How do you deal with conflict in your relationships?

Sheila Qualls is a former civilian journalist and editor for the U.S. Army’s award-winning newspaper, The Cannoneer. Sheila is now a stay-at-home mom, speaker and writer. Sheila writes from the experience of 30 years of marriage, five kids, homeschooling, 10 corporate moves, two dogs and a ferret. (May they rest in peace.) She inspires women by giving them a view into her world through a window of humor and transparency, one awkward moment at a time. She helps women navigate life’s emotional twists and choose confidence in the midst of chaos. You can follow her on Facebook or on her blog at http://www.sheilaqualls.com.

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