Dealing with conflict is one of the great challenges of building a home together. In fact, it is at the essence of life's relational dynamics in every direction.
After the honeymoon, one soon meets it in one's spouse, in spades. Each spouse arrives at the doorstep of relationship with a suitcase stuffed full of their own expectations and desires, different from each other's. Crashes and clashes of varying degrees are the interface between the two. Not only are the sets of expectations different, they are cemented with varying degrees of rigidity—which, gratefully, can morph from hour to hour, enabling some progress to be made, at "weak" moments! G. K. Chesterton, the great British writer/philosopher, once said "Marriage is one life-long conversation, punctuated by quarrels." He also noted that men can be characterized by selfishness and women by cross-ness. Clearly each spouse is a challenge to the other.
In the next life we all will be gifted with relational harmony from the get-go. We will walk on air. However, the here and now is not the next life! Now we have to continually work on relationship. It is our "just due" for spurning the well-thought out, timeless, perfect ways of God in the Garden, which begin at the altar of the tree. He knew how relationship could work with beautiful harmony—but we knew better.
His "Don't eat it!" could just as well have been the "Stand on your head at 5 o'clock every day" or some other edict. It wouldn't have mattered what the gyration we would need to perform would be, i.e. "touch it, don't touch it"—the point was to have an object there of continual contemplation to measure our moral geography. God needed some way to daily hourly ask the question, "Will I be God or will you be god?" He chose a tree; it could have been a ruby placed on a pedestal. Never mind the object, He was after discovering our state of allegiance. Were we utterly devoted? If so, He would give us the easy grace to relate with each other in perfection. We blew it. So now we work...with grace! Slipped cogs in the machinery of the universe.
Here are two tips:
Regardless of what just happened in the last five minutes, we as women, do well to rise up out of the fray and quickly return to our wellspring of loving motherhood and wife-dom. Reset. We must work at continually infusing our home's atmosphere with many warm smiles throughout the day, with glances from habitually loving eyes, with acceptance, emotional warmth, stable support, more smiles (look in the mirror and try on a smile—note its immediate effect, even upon you), encouraging words, replacing negatives with positives, offering steady comforting warmth, warmth, warmth—regardless of what else is happening.
Someone has to work at creating an inviting home atmosphere chock full of many nurturing moments, and no-regret memories, for everyone involved—and we're the ones to do it! It is perhaps why God built into women extraordinary intuitiveness and flexibility. We would need it every hour. "The wise woman builds her house" (Proverbs 14:1).
At moments of head on collision, let it go. Delay confrontation; deal with it later, if at all—not at the scene. A man is built to win; you're not likely to win at that moment. Take it up later when things are more amiable and relaxed, when you two can talk it through mutually, not fight to win at swords' points. The point is not for you to win an argument, it is for the marriage to win, and to advance. And that requires work. It also takes the lure of some sparkle, wit, enticing cheerfulness, goodwill, hugs, fun and unexpected over-the-top kindness thrown in. If we are only like bloodhounds after conflict resolution and provide no lure for a sweet home, don't we miss the mark? A relationship is not a business deal.