While most of us view a conflict as a negative event in which at least one person in the marriage is emotionally hurt. We would like to propose that each conflict can be an opportunity to grow closer together and strengthen the foundation of your marriage. Remember, you are a team and unless you both feel that you have “won” the team hasn’t won. So how can you maximize your chances of winning as a team?

First, recognize when a discussion or disagreement is starting to become a conflict. It really helps to have a signal or code word/phrase to let your partner know that the energy level is getting too high and you need a cooling off break. (i.e. I see the hounds are chasing the poor rabbit again.) If a quick decision isn’t required, agree to take a short break from the discussion and set a time and place where you can comfortably resume the discussion without interruptions or negative influences.

While you are on the “break” ask yourself why is this issue so important to you? What is it from your past that makes you want to insist that your position is the only correct decision? Also, remind yourself that you do love each other and care for each other and that you want to succeed as a couple.

When you get back together to continue the discussion, sit close to each other and hold hands. (OK, if one of you has to move your hands in order to talk then only hold one hand while talking.J) You should look into each other’s eyes as much as possible while you discuss the issue.

Then the person who feels the strongest about the issue will share what they feel the issue is and what it is from their past that makes it so important to them. They can share as much detail as they want. Their partner should only ask questions that will help them understand what is being shared. Once the first partner has shared they should end by asking if their partner understands them better now. Then switch roles.

After you have both shared, look for a solution that is acceptable to both of you.

While you are listening to your spouse share, be aware of any tendency to interpret what is being said as an attack. Your partner is sharing from their heart, they aren’t trying to hurt you. Also, don’t invalidate what they are saying, especially if they are sharing feelings.

And finally, end your time together by praying to God about the situation and asking Him to draw you closer together.

If your conflict became a fight, you should check out the link below. Drs Les and Leslie Parrott have a great blog titled “3 Ways to Reconcile after a conflict.”

One Response to “Conflict”

  1. Kevin Evans says:

    Thank you Mark for posting these marriage tips. I’ll talk to you tomorrow at church.

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