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Date Night Gone Bad

Updated: May 6

Derek and Missy Irvin Discuss how a recent date night conflict got away from them and what they did about it.

Has This Ever Happened to You?

Have you ever had a date night go bad? You make plans, you buy tickets, you make reservations and then a conflict creeps in and blows it all up. Check out the video where Derek and Missy describe how a recent date night conflict got away from them and what they did about it.


All Married Couples Have Conflict

Whenever I run into a couple who says they have zero conflict, there is usually an unhealthy power balance or a shallow connection. While conflicts will lessen as we become more spiritually and emotionally mature, none of us “outgrows” conflict in marriage. The real issue is how we handle the conflicts. True success is being committed to resolving conflicts in a timely manner. 

When there is a conflict, you typically have two competing perspectives with understandable emotions tied to them. Both parties want the other person to understand and to get where they are coming from. A cardinal principle of resolving conflict is you must focus on one perspective at a time. The reason most couples struggle to resolve conflict is they jump back and forth from perspective to perspective. The reason we do this is understandable. We want to be understood.  So, rather than reflecting back what we hear we lead with, “yeah, but …” and interject our competing perspective. This leaves both parties feeling frustrated and distant.

Before you attempt to resolve the conflict, it’s important to become self-aware of what you feel and why. The more you can isolate precisely what made you feel those emotions, the better your partner will be able to connect with them. You also will want to dig deeper and ask yourself what you fear about this. What you feel is generally tied to the isolated event.  What you fear is usually bigger. If you can become self-aware to see how all this ties to what you fear, it will help you to lead with vulnerability when you resolve it with your partner. 


3 Things That Matter:

  1. Timing Matters

  2. Wording Matters

  3. Response Matters

Finding the right time to resolve the conflict for both you and your spouse is important. For example, bringing up emotional topics before bed or when your spouse is getting ready to leave for work usually doesn’t go well. Communicate with your spouse that you would like to resolve the recent conflict and ask when a good time would be to do it.  

When you get together to work through the conflict, use “I -Statements”. An “I-Statement” uses the format:

“When _____________  happened, I felt _____________ and here is why.

Using an “I-Statement” keeps you from turning it into a “You-Statement” which will almost always be filled with blame and criticism.  Be careful not to criticize or assign motives. You don’t know what their intentions were, you just know how this thing made you feel. You can also share what you fear about this and what you want to feel. 


Listen to a Story of a How God Changed This Marriage!


The Secret to Connecting With Their Heart

When your spouse is sharing their feelings with you, how you respond is important. Don’t defend, justify, or fix because this turns the focus from their perspective and makes it about your perspective. What you want to do is to “reflect back” or put in your own words what you understand they are saying. Start with the words, “so what you are saying is…” If they say yes, then you have connected with their heart. If they correct what you reflected and explain something different, then reflect the new message until they indicate that you get what they are feeling.  

Next you need to acknowledge and own your part in the situation. Conflict is very rarely 100%/0%. Even if you feel like they were more to blame than you, there is still a part that you can own. When you own your part acknowledge that you did this thing that created the negative emotion that they just described. Tell them you’re sorry and ask for their forgiveness.

Learning to resolve conflict effectively and heal hurts as they occur is a critical skill in marriage. The Hopeful Tomorrows Marriage Intensive can help you gain this skill and heal past hurts. 



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