Communication and conflict are the two areas that most couples tell us they struggle with and depending on how things are handled, the results can bring intimacy and awareness or more discord and frustration. So to get on top of this, we surveyed our marriage professional community and asked them to give their best advice for handling and resolving conflict in marriage. Here's what they said:
1. Always watch and be mindful of your tone of words when you are upset and also your body language. The way we express ourselves verbally and physically to our spouse can either be uplifting or damaging to the marriage. I think then when you can learn to have conflict in a very loving, respectful and healthy way, your "fights" now become "loving disagreements" instead.
- Amy Mckinlay (ultimateintimacy.com)
2. Pursue unity with one another.
-Tiffany Kilapatrick (www.trimphantwife.com)
3. Ask each other on a scale of 1-10 what number the problem ranks. If you both score it low, then agree to move on. If you both score it high, talk it out but do so in a calm state.
-Garrett & Chelsea (TransformedCouples.com)
4. Always listen to understand and clarify not listen to defend and reply. Effective communication involves listening much more than speaking. We often want our point across so bad that we rarely listen to understand we just want to reply. Resolution can come once a couple decides to listen intently with open hearts ready to receive clarity and free of judgment.
- DeLonda Tucker (thewisewife.com)
5. I know we're all taught not to go to bed angry, but sometimes the sun will need to go down so you can calm down and think through the conflict clearly. If you see that the issue is about to boil over, agree to come back together after you've cooled off to focus on the solution. And the more you practice this, the more you'll find that you won't go to bed angry at all.
-Lakia "LB" Brandenburg (thewifecoach.com)
6. During disagreements, intentionally listen to one another. Try to understand each other's point of view. Listen to what your spouse is saying instead of trying to change their mind.
-Trey & Kyria Williams (https://kmwproductions.org/a-grand-couples-get-a-way/)
7. Don't seek conflict but resolution. Of course, you want resolution, yet how you're handling the discussion is leading to more conflict. Conflict happens when we hold our ground, do not seek to understand, and react rather than respond. Conflict never moves to resolution when you refuse to move toward your spouse in grace, forgiveness, and empathy.
- Javier & Shannon Labrador (www.247marriage.org)
Bonus: Take time to pause before responding. This gives you time to jot down notes, process how you are feeling and prevents you from saying something you will regret later.
- Joseph & Marissa (www.forever-marriages.com)
All of these strategies are helpful in bringing resolution and having healthy conversations when conflict arises. Which one will you aim to implement this week? Let us know in the comments!