Resolving Conflict in Your Marriage

If you’ve been with your partner for any length of time chances are you’ve had your fair share of disagreements.  Conflict is inevitable in any marriage.  The important thing is knowing how to handle the conflict when it comes up.  Below are just a few tools you can use in your marriage to improve healthy conflict resolution skills.
1.  Remember that the goal is resolution – not to hurt each other. With that in mind it’s important to avoid name calling or personal character attacks.  If the argument moves in that direction you or your partner will quickly become defensive and it will no longer be about the discussion at hand.
2.  Watch your words. Remember that “I” statements are often better received than “you” statements.  For example, stating “I feel hurt when we don’t spend time together” versus “You never spend any time with me.”  You statements are very accusing and will again put your partner on the defense.  Your partner is not a mind-reader so you’ll need to clue them in to your feelings anyway.   Also, it’s best to avoid words like “always” and “never.”  Keep the discussion current by talking about whatever the particular issue at hand is.  Avoid throwing in old issues.
3.  Maintain an open mind. Ultimately, it’s not about “your way” versus “my way.”  It’s about finding “our way.”  Reaching an agreement together requires both parties to be fully committed to keeping an open mind and be willing to compromise.  That means both need to participate in the discussion with full attention.  Put down the remote or turn off the cell phone if it’s an important issue.  Be an active listener and take the time to try and understand your partner’s point of view.

Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici



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