Marital Conflict: How to Deal with Arguments in a Marriage. Tips that work.
A Beautiful Institution
Marriage –an institution as old as time. However, over the years, marriage has become somewhat of a novelty. A lot of factors have made such a beautiful thing as marriage become a living nightmare for a lot of people. In this article, we are going to discuss one of those factors; Disputes or consistent quarrels in a family. As you read on, pay attention to what causes strife and contention in the home, warning signs to look out for and how to fix these issues.
The dispute in a marriage comes in so many forms; it could be constant arguing or outright violence. Why does it happen? One common cause of contention in the family is money. Managing finances in a home can cause so much tension that sometimes both parties end up not speaking to each other for days. This could happen when a husband starts to feel that his wife cannot control her spending or when a wife feels left out by her husband in financial matters. In Africa, men are encouraged not to let their wives know how much they earn. This can result in creating unnecessary tension in the home.
Another reason for strife can be a few badly timed or ill-chosen words. We are all imperfect, so, no one can say the right thing all the time. Sometimes we slip in our manner of speaking and a simple misunderstanding in the home escalates into a traumatic fight. But does this mean that it is impossible to have a happy home? What can you do to create an enduring peaceful atmosphere in your home? Please read on.
You may feel like you and your partner are locked in a cycle of heated disputes. Perhaps these clashes and quarrels are getting more frequent and more intense. Sometimes you just find yourself screaming back at him and somewhere at the back of your head you’re wondering: how did we start arguing? Don’t despair. Don’t ever feel like your family is falling apart. Always remember, the arguments themselves cannot break your marriage apart; it is the way you handle the arguments that can make or break your family. What practical steps can you take to handle disputes in a way that can restore peace to your home?
Practical Steps to Take During an Argument
- STOP RETORTING.
The worst thing you can do during an argument is to keep retaliating. It takes two to argue. If one person is talking and the other person keeps talking back it only serves to intensify the argument. Forget about getting the last word. Think of a fire, what happens when you keep supplying fuel? It intensifies. But when you don’t stoke the fire it burns out and dies. Likewise, if you keep quiet when you partner is talking angrily, that will serve to diffuse the situation and put an end to what would have otherwise become a heated exchange of hurtful words.
Take note of this wise ancient proverb: “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out and where there is no slanderer, quarreling ceases.” –Proverbs 26:20.
2. REALLY LISTEN.
There is nothing more difficult than trying to ignore the shouting of an offended partner to really listen to what he/she is saying, but if we are going to have a happy home, this is exactly what we have to do. It is important to acknowledge the other person's feelings. Listen to what he is saying and try to think of a way to fix the problem instead of attributing his anger to pure malice or trying to find evil intent behind his words.
3. TAKE TIME OUT TO COOL DOWN.
No matter how much we try to be calm during an argument, sometimes we still lose it. It is not a bad idea to excuse yourself politely BEFORE an argument escalates. Always remember that there is a fine line between politely excusing yourself and walking out on your partner. The first is a good idea, the second is an insult to your partner and can further damage the situation. The key is timing. Make sure not to storm out in the middle of the argument. Proverbs chapter 17 verse 4 says, “Before the quarrel breaks out, take your leave."
3. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.
Frame your words to soothe and not to stab, that is if you must speak at all. Personally, I prefer to keep quiet and let the storm pass before saying anything. Says Proverbs 12:18, “Thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is a healing.”
Whatever you do, bear in mind that shoving, kicking or slapping is inexcusable so is any type of name-calling or degrading speech. Always apologize and mean it and you’re on your way to having a dispute free and happy family.
References: Awake! Magazine published by Jehovah's Witnesses
Pictures by iStock photos.
Quotes from the Bible.