Hot heads and cold hearts never solved anything. -- Billy Graham
One of the things I have found most difficult about marriage is maintaining a loving spirit (or warm heart) even when I am angry. Self-control can be so difficult! I think that often the people closest to us can provoke us to anger so much more quickly than anyone else. You know how it goes: your husband says a comment that sounds pretty innocent, but you start to associate his comment with something else and before you know it, you are angry and ready to burst.
The sad thing is that many Christians, myself included, struggle with resolving conflict in a Christian way. My husband and I memorized a verse together when we first got married:
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Does that mean we never say angry words to each other, or that we don't get hot-headed and cold-hearted sometimes? Unfortunately, no. But there is something we have learned in our new marriage books that strikes right at the heart of this: the key to resolving conflict and issues is to leave your pride at the door and listen with an open and loving heart. Believe me, this is so hard for me!
The book mentions that when your spouse brings up an issue to you, don't offer excuses. If they bring it up, there is a problem, so focus on resolving it, not on defending yourself. I am the queen of defending myself. I may agree I did something wrong, but then I'll give a laundry list of reasons why I did it. Last week for the first time I made a huge effort to control this habit, and the result is that any conflicts we have are resolved quickly and to both of our satisfaction. And in the meantime, we both maintain warm hearts towards each other!