Not many couples in marriage like to admit it, but conflict is much more common than you would think. Resolving conflict is an essential part of a marriage or any healthy relationship. It allows for a more loving, nurturing, and lasting relationship. While conflict is inevitable, you can avoid turning conflict into something that feels like it is out of your control.
Healthy communication within a marriage is the basis for any successful relationship. This requires a healthy practice of listening and response skills that provide guidance for couples when an argument begins or when you feel an argument may occur. One must really pay attention to the feelings and issues that their partner is sharing with them. A healthy form of listening must show that you are understanding what the other person is saying.
You can achieve this by asking to follow up questions or personal identifiers. Use a form of active listening to show that you are aware of what they are expressing to you. On the flip side, the response is just as important. Try your best not to just act and react on emotion. This can lead to more tension between you and your spouse. Keep your mind focused on the conflict or issue at hand and respond logically.
Do Not Blame Your Partner
Putting the blame on your spouse for a problem that both of you are experiencing never leads to a solution. The one getting blamed will feel attacked causing them to respond to the blame and not the actual problem at hand. Blaming steers the conversation away from the problem you are already dealing with and can create more conflict. The best way to avoid falling into the blame game is to respond with “I feel” statements that keep the main point at the center of the conversation. This method will lead to better communication that respects each other’s feelings without putting them down.
Take One Argument At a Time
In addition to removing the blame game, it is important to focus on one argument at a time. When spouses fight, oftentimes it is easy to start combining together more than one issue into a giant fight. When this occurs, problem-solving gets completely lost in the mix because you are trying to solve too many problems at once. One argument at a time leads to one solution at a time. This approach also shows patience and understanding and gives each person the time they need to process what they are feeling and come up with the best answers before moving on to the next.
Express Your Problems Directly
It is common that when couples are having issues, they may resort to behavior that avoids the actual problem itself. For example, a spouse who is acting depressed or sad may use that as an expression rather than directly stating their unease. The same thing is true for a partner who responds with anger or frustration. Their response offsets the actual problem they are having. The best way to find a resolution is to directly express what is bothering them in an honest and direct way. Once the issue has been addressed, a plan of action can be put into place to resolve it.
A couple who is able to stay open-minded during their issues is more likely to find peaceful resolutions that will benefit both people. When we get caught up in one side of an argument, there is no room for flexibility when it comes to understanding the other person’s concerns. As the conflict gets bigger, the odds of meeting in the middle get smaller. In order to remain open-minded, both people must learn how to rationalize a conflict from an objective place. You have to be able to consider both sides of the coin without bias and without thinking about personal gain. This will allow for a reasonable discussion and acceptance of your partner’s standpoint. If you remain open-minded, you will be able to handle any conflict.
You don’t have to go it alone
There are times when one or both partners feel stuck and need someone who is trained to help couples resolve the core issues which keep them from having a harmonious and joyful life together. Contact our therapists and we will be happy to assist you and your loved one.
We also offer remote online therapy from the comfort and security of home that will allow you to learn more effective ways of managing your anxiety, depression, or relationship problems.