Conflict is inevitable in any relationship – marriage is no exception. Even the healthiest marriages deal with conflict. A conflict indicates a serious disagreement or argument due to incompatibility or a clash and variance. But conflict is not always a bad thing because sometimes a conflict can lead to a new perspective and a better outcome that wouldn’t have presented itself without a debate.
In most marriages, there are conflicts that continue to pop up over the years. In order to preserve your marriage and eliminate future disagreements, it is important to identify how to deal with conflicts as a couple. The resolution shouldn’t involve sweeping the issue under the rug, not talking about the problem, dismissing your spouse’s relevancy, or guilting your partner into doing what you want. It’s important to remember that couples disagree, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not only do you have the right to a different opinion from your partner, but you might learn something valuable about yourself and your spouse.
There are a number of ways you and your husband/wife can maturely approach conflict resolution and continue forward with a healthy marriage. Communication is a must-have in every healthy relationship. When partners communicate effectively, they can create a stronger relationship and produce a more successful resolution. Even though conflict is completely normal, it can also be an indication that your relationship isn’t working, and adjustments are needed. Remember, this is real life and not a movie that magically presents a happy ending.
Creating constructive conflict takes work. Creating a healthy marriage takes work. Creating a constructive conflict plan will be challenging, but here are the guidelines:
No screaming. No yelling. No name-calling. No bringing up the past. No belittling. No hypothetical situations. No accusations. No timelines. No silence. No slamming.
Everyone should be treated with respect. If your partner breaks one of the rules above, tell them to stop. If you break one of the rules above, gather your composure and apologize. Depending on the size of the conflict, breaks are okay if they are amicable and constructive.
Be honest with each other and be willing to disagree, but maintain an open mind that is willing to process growth. Conflicts allow individuals to see another side of an understanding and can be used to create change. It’s imperative that spouses accept if they are wrong or identify when there is a need to alter their stance on a topic.
Identify the real basis for conflict.
Oftentimes, arguments tend to wander away from the real issue. In most cases, this isn’t intentional, but it does mean that the conflict isn’t being addressed appropriately. Before discussing the conflict, make a pact with your spouse to stay on topic. If the conflict becomes sidetracked, agree to get back on topic and drop the off-topic issue – the past is the past. You cannot use the past as a weapon.
You know your partner. If they are feeling insecure or need encouragement, try to be understanding about their reactions and feelings. If you’re angry, try to be progressive and identify ways you can calm down. Be honest with each other, and don’t shy away from sharing how you feel with your spouse. The only way you and partner will resolve the conflict is by addressing the issue and talking about it. The key is learning how to discuss the real issue, so you can avoid the constant bickering and arguing.
Comprise whenever it is possible.
Compromising is a huge part of being in a relationship. It is impossible to agree on everything, and compromising, when possible, is a healthy alternative. Pick your conflicts and determine how important something is before deciding to go all-in on an argument. Does the conflict go against your morals, values, or ethics? Ask yourself if you’re acting in a petty way.
Always strive to find a middle ground that allows you and your spouse to feel satisfied with the outcome. You and your husband/wife are a team and should always have each other’s best interests in mind. Focus on what matters and, when necessary, agree to disagree.
When handling conflict, it is common to feel isolated or heavily scrutinized. Make sure you take action and show your spouse that you appreciate him/her. Yes, you’re disagreeing and engaging in conflict; however, that doesn’t mean that you don’t like them anymore. Even though you’re disagreeing, it’s important to still show your spouse that you appreciate him/her.
This can be displayed in several ways. During the conflict discussion, share your appreciation with your spouse for investing time to resolve the conflict. At the end of the conflict, tell your spouse what you appreciated from the resolution – a compromise or observation they made. Give each other a hug afterward – sometimes nonverbal appreciation speaks louder than words. After the conflict, be intentional and do something – clean up the house or volunteer to cook dinner.
Marriage is hard, but the most worthwhile things in life aren’t easy. Learning how to maturely deal with conflict in your marriage for goodwill creates a healthy foundation for you and your spouse’s future. Additionally, you’ll identify new ways to appropriately handle conflict within your daily interactions and other relationships with friends, coworkers, and family members. Keep in mind that every conflict is different. An approach that worked with one conflict may not work with another, and that is completely normal. It’s important to invest time in your marriage and with each other. There will be times when a conflict break is necessary and other times when a discussion break is an escape. Be willing to handle the conflict appropriately, so it doesn’t spiral into an ongoing issue that weighs down on your marriage.