After my last post, I began thinking about others items to add to the list of tips for resolving marital conflict. I thought back over the past 12 years of being married and analyzed what’s worked for us and what we’ve learned the hard way.
I hope you’ll consider adding these tips to your marital conflict toolbox. If you missed Part I, click here.
- Talk sitting next to each other while touching: Physical touch is a powerful communication strategy. It shows your desire to be close to your spouse, even if you have something difficult to say. It affirms your commitment to oneness and being part of a team while working through your problems.
- Practice effective listening: While your spouse is sharing their heart, give them every bit of your attention. Put away the distractions of the phone and television. When they’ve finished, use these words, “What I hear you saying is…”. Even if you don’t agree with what was said, it affirms you heard your spouse and their point of view. It also gives you both the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings. You know, men and women speak different languages sometimes, so this allows you to clear up anything that was lost in translation.
- Don’t banish your spouse to the doghouse overnight: As I mentioned in Part I a few weeks ago, the devil loves division. John 10:10 tells us that he comes “to kill, steal and destroy.” When you go to bed angry and in separate rooms, it leaves the door open for further division. Even if you are upset at one another, sleeping in the same bed offers the best potential for reconnection. It gives you the chance to hold hands or rub feet and let your spouse know that you care.
- Never use the D word: Never ever ever joke about divorce. It’s not funny, it’s hurtful. And although it may be said in jest, it communicates that there’s a chance you’d be willing to walk away. Put a stake in the ground and commit that divorce is never to be joked about or given as a threat. Commit that it’s not an option for your marriage.
- Invest in counseling: One of the best ways you can strengthen your marriage and learn even more effective conflict resolution strategies is to go to counseling together. Your marriage is the most important relationship you will ever have, it’s worth every bit of your attention, time and money! It’s very refreshing to talk to an unbiased professional and gain their insight on how you can make your marriage better. Truthfully, it can also be a little bit painful when you realize you need to change how you do things, but it’s worth every bit of discomfort to work through the issues and take yourself and your marriage to another level.
Remember that experiencing conflict in your marriage isn’t always negative. No, it isn’t fun or comfortable, but working through problems allows you to grow as a couple and become stronger for it.