Marriage Success Series: Lesson 6

RCCG Agape House of Worship
Marriage Success Class

Lesson 06 - Reducing and Resolving Conflict in Marriage

Personality Types: Three Personality Types - From "The Marriage Menders" by Drs Whiteman and Bartlett

Aggressive: Aggressive people are those with high tempo personalities, they yell, they are in your face and typically they intimidate people. They want a solution to whatever the problem is right away (even when angry) and they say things that would usually hurt the other person and hunt them later when things calm down.

An aggressive woman would use any means within her power to get what she wants, including crying and nagging. Many successful professional women in high positions (doctors, lawyers, CEOs etc) tend to be aggressive. An aggressive man on the other hand would seek to dominate the wife, make all the decisions and use yelling among other means of control, in cultures where physical abuse is tolerated, aggressive men do resort to beating their wives. If you are married to aggressive person, you would not have to worry about what's on their mind, you can be assured that they'll share their mind beyond what you want. On the other hand aggressive people also get things done, if they believe in a cause, they do whatever it takes
to make that thing happen.

Passive-Aggressive: Passive-Aggressive people don't usually like the aggressive posture over any issue (except once in a while), they'll rather say "Yes" when they already know what they are going to do, the yes is usually to get their aggressive spouse out of their face. Rather than speak up their concern on an issue they keep quiet but their displeasure is displayed in their behavior. For example, he/she might walk around the house banging the door after them; react to their spouse with short sentences, or act to sabotage their spouse just to get even or get back at them. People with these personalities can be dangerous because you never really know what's on their mind. When they say yes, as a spouse you have to watch to see if that yes is really "yes" or "yes - get out of my face" or "yes - I already know what I want to do".

Passive: Passive people don't really have an opinion on any issue and if they do, you have to force it out of them. Honey, what color do you think we should paint the house? I don't know whatever you choose is okay by me! This is a typical conversation when married to a passive person. When angry, passive people keep their opinion to themselves and implode, too many implosions cause physical and emotional ailments. However when passive people get to a stage or if pushed to the wall, they fight back typically exploding like a volcano. Just imagine the kids in schools who are teased over and over again by the jocks, and then one day, they get a gun and shoots any one in sight, that is a typical passive person's explosion.

When people with these different personalities get married we now have many unique ways marital conflicts tend to play out and different ways to resolve them.



W     O     M      A      N
Personality Combination
1. Fire for Fire
2. Sabotage
3. Abuse/Submissive
Passive -Aggressive
4. Time Bomb
5. Guerilla Warfare
6. Sudden/Death
7. Nagging/Shut down
8. Disappointment
9. Boredom

1. When an aggressive man and woman get married, that house would be a high octane one where fire would be returned for fire. The couple is often at each other's throat, perhaps yelling at each other, breaking things in the house and whatever aggression they can display to show their anger or get to the other person. The household is often known to the police.

2. When an aggressive man marries a passive-aggressive woman, while he yells and displays, she keeps quite sometimes agreeing with him, but deciding to sabotage his efforts. For example the husband might be yelling about spending from the checking account, she will agree with him to his face but go out the next day and do what she promised not to do.

3. An aggressive man and a passive woman is one were the man dominates the relationship with his aggressive postures, the woman on the other hand seeking peace, would not usually complain about much, even when she should have said something. Abuse is typical from the man in this relationship while the woman submits.

4. Having a passive-aggressive man and an aggressive woman brings its own uniqueness; the guys would hate the wife's aggressiveness and would then resort to acting out his displeasure rather than say anything. The woman on the other hand, while making her points clear through whatever means (usually ways he does not like), is frustrated because she does not know what is going on in his mind and resorts to guessing or watching his body-language.

5. Two passive-aggressive people looks more like the Mau-Mau warriors of Kenya during the colonial days fighting guerilla warfare against the British, fight and retreat only to strike again. Both hate confrontation, so would avoid it, so due to the lack of communication many issues are decided and actions are taken based on perception not reality. The husband and wife sabotage each other, they will agree on things and go back and do the opposite just because they want to get even.

6. In the relationship of a passive-aggressive man and a passive woman, you'll rarely hear the voice of both of them (except occasional outburst from the man). He'll avoid the issue and she'll have no opinion. This relationship runs the risk of a sudden death if both parties don't step up and deal with issues.

7. In relationship with passive man and an aggressive woman the woman often nags in an effort to get the man to do something or be the man of the house (which is actually counter-productive) and he would often shut down. The man would typically leave the decision making of the house to the woman and his biggest complaints would be her nagging and taking over the house, she'll counter with, he procrastinate and would not get anything done if I leave it to him!

8. Passive man and a passive-aggressive woman - the man won't say anything and the woman would probably not initiate conversation either, even if she is not happy. The woman might have occasional aggressive tendencies and she would more than likely be the one to initiate projects in the house and also the one to make it happen.

9. When two passive people marry,this would definitely be a happy go lucky couple but might not get anything done; also they'll avoid any issue that is confrontational which means many issues will be left unanswered.

Reducing Conflict in Marriage


1. Don't take your partner for granted: Be as polite, kind and considerate to your partner as you are to a casual acquaintance.
2. Don't mind-read: Don't assume that you know what your partner is thinking and feeling. There's a good chance you could be wrong, and wrong assumptions cause unnecessary conflict.
3. Don't blame: How easy it is to say, "It's your fault. You made me do it. It's because of you that things are so bad between us. You're the reason I feel so miserable."
4. Don't play-shrink: In other words, "Don't interpret!" Don't assume you understand your partner's deepest motivations and the subtlest nuances of his behavior. You may think you're objective, but let me tell you, nobody who is deeply involved in a relationship can maintain professional distance.
5. Don't say yes when you mean no: The problem with saying yes when we mean no is that we stop being real in the relationship. There's no intimacy in a relationship without honesty.
6. Don't use silence as a weapon: Silence is a deadly weapon. So, if you don't want to kill your relationship, then you need to learn how to express resentments in a way that can be heard, acknowledged and resolved.
7. Don't act out: Acting out is indirectly expressing feelings and emotions through behavior. People act out by having affairs, by making messes, by withdrawing, by becoming depressed, and even by suicide. They can act out by being irresponsible with money. There is no end to the ways that we have of saying, "I'm really angry at you."
8. Don't threaten: any statement, gesture or act that is designed to create physical or emotional pain in your partner. No matter how angry you are, make the following pledge to yourself: Under no circumstances whatsoever will I verbally or physically threaten my spouse.
9 . Don't discount: A discount is a remark designed to reduce your partner's self-worth. Some examples of discounting statements are: "You're so lazy," "You're irresponsible and untrustworthy," and "You're a terrible father and an awful husband."
10. Don't triangulate: A couple in a "conflictual" relationship sometimes develops alliances unconsciously with third parties such as children, parents. The function of this person is to reduce the strain between the couple. For example, a wife who is feeling lonely and cut off from her husband might increase her involvement with one or more of the children as a way of decreasing her unhappiness.

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