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Five Ways to Handle Conflict in Your Marriage

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 1:03 PM

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” my mother used to admonish me. This is true in almost every other situation, but marriage. Sometimes, you have to “put it all out there” and say what’s on your mind. “Don’t go to bed angry,” I was advised at my bridal shower, but for years, I was master of the silent treatment.  If my husband said or did something that I didn’t agree with, I would go days without speaking or say the bare minimum, hoping that I could hold off long enough that he would beg me for forgiveness. In doing so, I often became blind to many of my own faults, in my quest to get him to admit his. In my stubbornness, I would often forget about why I was mad in the first place, or I would realize that the matter was not as big as I had made it out to be. Seven years later, I am revealing five things that Mike and I have put into place to ensure that the channels of communication remain open during a disagreement.

1.       Listen:This is often the last thing that I want to do, especially if I think that I’m right. But I have found, however, that if I listen (I mean really listen) to what my husband is saying, then I can see where he is coming from. In our case, we “give each other the floor” each person gets a chance to give the details from his or her perspective completely uninterrupted.  This brings me to my next point......................................

2.      No Dramatics This is important to me, because I tend to clam up and become defensive when someone is shouting or has raised their voice at me.  On the flip side, my husband has expressed his annoyance, when I begin to cry because from his perspective, the last thing he wants to do is to make me cry. So we have agreed to keep our emotions in check when telling our side of the story. This is not the time to blame the other party or point fingers, but to simply state the facts from your point of view.

3.      Three’s a Crowd One of the worst things to experience is to discover that your “business” is “out there".  I have found that Mike and I can handle anything together as a team, but when outside forces weigh in and give opinions, a situation can go from bad to worse in ten seconds flat! As a precautionary measure, we try to avoid arguing in public or within earshot of others. We also do not tell our individual friends or family about any disagreement that is ongoing. If counseling is needed, there should be an appropriate and qualified person to help mediate disputes.

4.       Transparency:  “Honesty is the best policy” and in no case is it more appropriate than in marriage. No matter how ugly the truth is, it is always best to go ahead and reveal it to your spouse than try to cover it up or to offer up excuses as to why you behaved a certain way. Not only does dishonesty belittle your spouse, but it also builds a level of mistrust in the marriage. When you are both vulnerable and everything has been laid on the table, then healing can begin and a remedy found.

5.      Kiss and Make UpProbably the most refreshing feelings, is to know that you can begin with a clean slate with your spouse.  I cannot stress how important forgiveness and letting go is in a marriage. In fact, there is no point in staying married, if you cannot learn to forgive and, yes, forget! Try to keep from replaying the same hurtful episode for your spouse to hear every time you argue. If the same offense is committed, then that is the time to try and figure out together how to keep it from happening again, and to put obstacles in place to avoid the same pitfalls the next time.*

Always a work in process, marriage is by no means easy; but by committing to follow these 5 steps in handling conflict, your marriage and home will become a place of harmony, as well as a peaceful haven for both of you.  

*Note: There is never any excuse for physical or psychological abuse, and is often necessary to remove yourself from this kind of situation, contact the appropriate authorities in these cases.

Categories: Marriage/Relationship

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Reply lisa peebles
6:59 PM on October 15, 2013 
Good and much needed advice. Thank you.
Reply Ruth
2:24 AM on October 16, 2013 
lisa peebles says...
Good and much needed advice. Thank you.

Thanks so much!
Reply Hannah Pierre
4:36 PM on October 17, 2013 
"This is so true! We have very similar rules. A good marriage must be worked on daily to meet the desired end. Thank you!"
Reply Ruth
4:32 AM on October 18, 2013 
Hannah Pierre says...
"This is so true! We have very similar rules. A good marriage must be worked on daily to meet the desired end. Thank you!"

Hannah, that is important. Marriage takes true commitment!
Reply James Griffith
2:14 PM on October 21, 2013 
That is some good advice.
Reply Ruth
2:22 PM on October 21, 2013 
James Griffith says...
That is some good advice.

Thank you James!
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Many people facing many troubles in their marriage life. This is due to misunderstanding. Everyone should listen to their partner to solve the problems quickly.
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3:25 AM on May 11, 2018 
Edmund Wehn says...
decorations or possibly eliminate each individual day?

I agree with all the things that you said. Marriage is a long time commit of two people that agreed to be one. You should never ever let your partner to give up on you, especially when you are married. Trust, love and loyalty are the most important thing in the relationship. You need to make that your communication with each other is okay. I think that this post can help many couples. I will share your blog with my family and friends.
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lisa peebles says...
Good and much needed advice. Thank you.

As a married couple, it is only normal that you two would end up fighting. This is because of some misunderstandings that you both need to talk about. We should not let our partners sleep with heavy hearts, instead, communicate with them. Communication is the best way to create a stronger relationship and solve conflicts. There are always three sides of the story - your side, his side and the truth, we should listen to both sides to know the truth.
3:37 PM on January 1, 2019 
Wow! I love this blog. I do try to make it on Sundays. My friends at my company too love these type of blogs. Thank you for this reminder post and the simple easy tricks shared.