7 Smart Ways to Resolve a Conflict in Marriage
How to Resolve a Conflict in Your Marriage
Conflicts Will Always Occur
Conflicts are bound to crop up in a marriage even if you love each other very much, because you are created differently, have different upbringings, possess different temperaments, and so will see things in different lights.
How can you resolve a conflict in marriage so that your marriage will last and become even more beautiful?
If you want to be able to successfully resolve a conflict in your marriage, you must first pray, especially when you feel very angry with your spouse. Praying will enable God to work on your heart and help you to calm down. The few seconds you use to pray can help you to steady your emotions, make you feel you are putting the situation in the hands of a Very Powerful Being who will support you to iron out the issues you have with your spouse, which will make you feel that you are not facing your spouse alone. Sometimes you can feel intimidated when you try to make your spouse see that he or she is doing something wrong, and they treat you with disrespect.
You can pray something like, “Dear God, you created marriage to help us appreciate one another better whilst we are on Earth. You ask us to live in peace with our fellow human beings. Father, Ike has done something that is seriously threatening the peace in this marriage. I am very, very angry with Ike for cheating with Susan. I wish I could kill him, but I know that is wrong in your sight. I still love Ike and want this marriage to continue. Please give me your grace to help me control myself and have a civil discussion with him so that we can get to the root of this problem and solve it. Please help me to remember the good things he has done for me in the past so that as I approach him for a discussion to solve this conflict, I will not see him as an enemy, but as a weak human being who has done wrong, and who needs to see that what he did was not right. Help me to manage my anger, dear Lord. And please work on his heart and mind so that he will see his faults, accept them, and be open to resolving this issue. Please let me know my faults too, and help me to overcome them so that I will not drive him to do things he may not have wanted to do, but which he did because of my behavior towards him. Thank you for hearing my prayer. Amen.” Saying such a prayer will give you confidence that God will take an interest in the issue and help, through His power, to bring peace between the two of you. You will therefore approach your spouse in a positive spirit, which will increase chances that the conflict will be resolved successfully.
Prayer is one tool you can use to address a conflict in marriage.
Manage Your Emotions
When there is a conflict, the likelihood that your emotions will want to get the better part of you is increased. You may become so emotional, which may cloud your judgment and make you confront your spouse as an “enemy.” Therefore, if you want to be able to resolve a conflict in your marriage, you have to keep your emotions, especially anger, in check.
How can you keep your emotions under control?
- Imagine you are in an exotic location, such as a sun-filled beach somewhere on one of the beautiful islands in the Pacific. Imagine yourself taking a stroll through the beach, kicking the sand with your feet, and hearing birds singing all around you, a slight breeze blowing. Imagine yourself walking to beautiful flowers in a group of trees just beside the beach and smelling the flowers. This thought will help you to feel a sense of relief, and it will distract you for a few moments and help you to calm down.
- Sit quietly for a minute and try to picture the words “I will hold no bitterness in my heart against Ike for what he has done to me. I will not overreact. I must be patient. I must be patient. I will be patient.” Then clench your fist as a sign that you are determined to be patient. Then, start saying the words aloud. Keep saying it to yourself until you feel convinced in your heart that you can face your spouse without being too emotional. Then, say something such as, “This issue is not such a big deal. We can resolve it. We will resolve it. We have resolved such issues in the past, and we can deal with this one too.” This will help you to see that you do not need to use a confrontational approach to try and resolve the issue. Words are spirit, and saying such words can help galvanize your whole being so that you can focus your energies to solve the problem at hand.
Write Down the Issues That Bother You
When you confront your spouse and decide to engage in only a verbal exchange, because your emotions are excited, you can say things you did not mean. You are likely to say anything that comes into your head, especially when your spouse says something that annoys you. But when you write down your accusations against your spouse, and think about them, you will realize that some of them are weak reasons to confront your spouse, and you will strike them out of the list, leaving only the strong points of contention.
Also, when you write your grievances down before approaching your spouse for the conflict to be resolved, it will help you to present your grievances in an orderly and civil fashion, devoid of the kind of rancor that occurs when you decide to confront each other only verbally, express your thoughts in a haphazard manner, and engage in a “shouting match.”
- Write your grievances against your spouse down on a sheet of paper. List them in order of how important they are to you, those that hurt you most being at the top. For example, if the conflict is about your husband cheating, you can write the disrespect you feel as number 1, the fact that he does not spend time with you often as number 2, and so on.
- Get your spouse to sit down when you are resolving the issue. You will find it easier to manage your emotions than when you are standing. Also, it will increase the chances that you will want to talk things through to the end. When you are standing, you will find it easier to just walk off when your spouse is annoying you.
- When you are discussing the cause of the conflict, take your grievances one by one , and give your spouse room to respond. For example, look at the sheet of paper, read your first grievance, look into your spouse’s face, and say your accusation to him or her. The time you use to read, look into his or her face, can all be used to help you control yourself even better, by breathing in deeply.
- Give your spouse the opportunity to respond. If you are not satisfied with his or her response, then ask for further clarifications, or speak your mind on what you think your spouse should have done.
- After you have thoroughly discussed one grievance, move on to the next grievance, until you have dealt with all the grievances.
- If you cannot thoroughly discuss an issue, note it, note what has been discussed, and note what is left to be resolved so that the grievance can be laid to rest. Write beside it “to be discussed later,” so that you will both remember to deal with it finally at an appropriate time, later.
- This approach is likely to prevent a “shouting match” (which can easily lead to the escalation of emotions, and the heightening of tension) whilst you discuss the issues. It will help you to present your case in a manner that your spouse can understand and address better, and vice versa.
Resolve to be Humble
The attitude you adopt can go a long way to determine whether you will be able to resolve a conflict in marriage peacefully, or whether the conflict can become prolonged and protracted.
When you approach your spouse in an arrogant manner, and push all the blame for what happened on him or her, it will make your spouse defensive. And like a trapped animal that feels that its life is threatened, he or she will fight back as a means of maintaining their dignity and self- respect.
On the other hand, if you resolve to be humble, and you approach your spouse in humility, by admitting that you are part of the problem, your spouse will be more willing to make compromises, which will increase the chances that the conflict can be resolved amicably. For example, if you catch your husband cheating, you can say something such as, “Ike, I have known you since our high school days. You were not like this. And when we married, you were faithful. If today you are cheating, it must be because you are not happy with something I did, or with something that is going on in the marriage. Please tell me what it is. I am sorry if by my attitude, or because of something I said, you have made this wrong choice. I know I am part of this problem. And I want to be a part of the solution. Please, let’s discuss this.” When you speak like this, and your spouse sees that you are determined to live at peace with him or her, when he or she sees this kind of goodwill displayed, they are more likely to also show a humble attitude, which will create the environment for the issues to be discussed in sincerity.
Showing humility and accepting that you have also contributed to the problem is one way to help solve marriage conflict, and ensure that the marriage works.
Let Your Spouse See Your Point of View
Try to get your spouse to understand why you did what you did, or said what you said, if you want to resolve conflict in married life. This will help him or her to appreciate why you acted the way you did, and when your spouse understands the reason for your actions, he or she can empathize and it may make him or her more willing to address the cause of the conflict. For example, if you are a jealous wife, and you confronted your husband when you saw him talking to his female colleague, although there is nothing between them, you could say, “I acted that way because that is what I saw in our house when I was growing up. When I was a child, my mother used to complain about the women he saw father speaking to. I learnt to become jealous for mother. Therefore, I have grown up with this jealous feeling. And that is why when I see you talking to another woman, I become jealous. You need to understand. I need your help and support to overcome my jealous feelings, Ike, not anger on your part,” when your husband gets angry with you for confronting him.
See Your Spouse's Point of View
Just as you want your spouse to see your point of view, try to see your spouse’s point of view. For example, if he cheats and you know that he comes from a home where his father was unfaithful to his mother, you can say something such as, “Ike, I understand why you would react this way. I understand that you saw this kind of thing when you were growing up. I understand it is not your fault you are behaving this way. But that is not the best example to follow. What your father did was wrong. He was not a good role model and you should not want to be like him.”
When your husband or wife sees that you understand, he or she will open up, and they will face their weaknesses, and admit their faults, which will help the conflict to be resolves peacefully.
Trying to see your spouse’s point of view, and making him or her know that you see why they have acted, or are acting, the way they are acting, can help you to handle conflict in married life, so that you can enjoy the marriage.
If you want to resolve a conflict in marriage successfully, you must make sure you communicate well. Communicating well will prevent your spouse from giving you a worse reaction than what caused the conflict in the first place. It will also prevent your spouse from becoming more antagonistic towards you.
How can you communicate well so that you can resolve conflict in your marriage relationship?
- Decide to listen to your spouse. Don’t brush him or her off by refusing to hear them out, or don’t ask them to put their concerns before you when you are doing something else. Give your spouse one hundred percent attention.
- Face your spouse, when you are discussing the issues, so that he or she will feel you are not treating their concern lightly. Don’t turn your face away, look at the floor, or at the ceiling. Look into your spouse’s face and let him or her feel you care.
- Speak in a calm, steady voice. Try not to raise your voice. If you feel you are getting angry, stop talking. Try to remember a funny occasion or event that has happened in your marriage. Or, try to remember a funny thing your spouse did or said in the past. Then start laughing. Your spouse will want to know why you are laughing. Tell him or her. It will lighten the atmosphere so you can put your concerns across clearly.
- Try to be relaxed. Don’t tense up and feel as if the discussion is a “do-or-die” affair. Remind yourself that life will go on after the discussion, even if the conflict is not resolved. This will make you relax, which will increase the likelihood that you will speak in a calm manner.
- When your spouse points out your mistakes to you, nod your head and say, “I agree with you. I accept I acted wrongly on that occasion. I admit my faults and I am sorry.”
- After you have finished laying your grievances before your spouse, say something such as, “But I forgive you for what you did from the bottom of my heart. I understand you are human and so would make mistakes.”
- At the end of the discussion, hug as a sign that you are not enemies, but lovers who have been drawn apart by a misunderstanding.
Never forget the big picture when a conflict crops up, which is that you must do your best to ensure the marriage works because you entered it in the first place out of love for your spouse. When you have this at the back of your mind as you confront your spouse, it will make you willing to resolve a conflict in marriage, and you will approach the conflict resolution with a big heart ready to concede some things.
How to Resolve a Conflict in Marriage
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© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio