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Can You Avoid Conflict In Your Marriage?

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It is inevitable in a marriage that you will have conflict. How you handle conflict can affect the health of the relationship. We choose whether a conflict will lead to damage or a time to explore new ideas, approaches, and solutions for managing the dispute better. Reaching a middle ground is not something that comes easily to a couple. It takes practice and a conscious effort to ensure you don't burn bridges with your spouse and save yourself from lingering, debilitating bitterness.

Strategies for Healthy Conflict Resolution

Know yourself. How do you handle conflict?

Examine your thoughts and feelings about your marriage as they determine your attitudes about your marriage. Your thoughts and body language are vital in handling conflict, as they can inspire hope or negativity, and direct your behavior. Often the motive is to get the other person to serve one's purposes and is rooted in selfishness that leads to manipulation. It is easy to push hot buttons with negative words and behavior, which may cause someone to react negatively. It is best if communication is a calm, purposeful, thoughtful process.

If you need a time out for calming, it is essential to ask for this. It is best to use I feel statements to tell how things made you feel or use phrases like “It made me angry when …or It hurt my feelings when …” to discuss your emotions productively. Explain the effect of the behavior and express your expectations. Using open-ended questions starting with "how" or "what"; can help draw your spouse into a discussion. Try to manage your behavior instead of controlling your spouse's behavior.

Is it worth an argument, or can you let it go?

Relationship problems can arise and hinder communication with your partner. Contemptuous feelings and interactions, defensiveness, and criticism are traits fed by refusal to listen and come to a compromise. These attitudes and actions can lead to a breakdown in relationships and may ignore your partner's side of the conflict because of the desire to be correct.

 Research shows that conflict can bring two partners closer together when handled constructively. Walking away and saying nothing is not a good option because the other person may feel they're being punished and doesn't let them know that you will return later. It may help to take a time-out and talk when things are calm.

Believe in your spouse despite doubt.

Believing in your partner despite doubt shows a sense of caring and understanding in your relationship and dramatically strengthens it. It conveys a sense of having faith and trust in your partner, and they will feel closer and more appreciated by you. This will, in turn, help them give you the benefit of the doubt.

One issue at a time, please.

Focusing on one issue will help keep things calmer, as discussing multiple problems at once will increase your chances of getting angry. Bringing up issues from the past as a weapon will not lead to a solution and will cause damage. It is best if you can deal with one point at a time and plan to deal with unresolved problems from the past another time.

Don't dwell on the conflict.

Exit an argument earlier than you think you need to.

You know yourself and your body better than anyone else, so once you feel tensed up and your thoughts start to boil, walk away. If anger increases, leaving the argument will become more difficult and steer you away from remaining calm.

Try to come to a compromise.

If you are fighting to be "right" or "win" in an argument, take a moment to stop and think if winning this battle is worth it; maybe cooperation and compromise is the real winner of this battle. Reaching a middle ground consensus doesn't come easily to a couple. It takes practice and calm, thoughtful effort to ensure you are both satisfied with the choices you make.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

As a "neutral" third party, a professional counselor or therapist can serve as a safety point to help guide, contain, and consider feelings such as anger, guilt, or fear. They will examine causes and help you work through conflicts if needed.

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