Conflict in Marriage

Managing the Ups and Downs

Stay Calm

It is important to stay calm or at least keep your anger under control. By remaining calm your spouse will be more likely to consider your perspective and not overreact. This could eliminate a conflict in marriage before it even starts, especially if the conflict is based on a misunderstanding. If you feel so angry or upset that you will not be able to deal with the conflict in a healthy manner, take a “time out” and work on it when you have calmed down.  Put the matter back into perspective. This one conflict in marriage is likely a small matter in the lifespan of the marriage.

Manage One Conflict at a Time

Some couples try to fix every problem in their marriage at the same time, and in the end, they feel enraged and overwhelmed.

Withdrawn and anxious

Therefore, it is best to address one conflict at a time, leaving all others off-limits until the matter at hand is resolved. Which may take a few meaningful conversations.  Schedule time and inform your spouse of the topic to be discussed.  Don’t blindside them with an unknown topic.  That will cause defensiveness with your spouse.

Avoid Accusations

The quickest way to make someone defensive is to accuse them of something. Instead of accusing your spouse, take a softer approach and tell them how you felt from what was said. Avoid the “You” dagger – “You hurt me!”  Subsequently, emphasize how your spouse’s action(s) has made you feel.

Don’t Generalize

Be specific when you talk about the problem. It is imperative for your spouse to have a clear understanding of your problem. Vague complaints are impossible to resolve. Moreover, the words never and always are two of the worst words to use during a conflict because “never” or “always” is almost always an exaggeration. “You never pay attention” or “You are always late” are statements that—though they may feel true—overemphasize a less severe situation. “I would like you to pay better attention” and “It upsets me when you are late” are two much better ways to frame the same issues.  If necessary, make notes and stick to them.

A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.”

Proverbs 17:27 NIV

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