When faced with a difference in opinion, we may get defensive about our views and sometimes hurt and put the other party down in the process. This can be detrimental to any marital relationship especially in the long run.
How then can you resolve conflicts amicably with your spouse instead of fighting it out over a heated argument? TOUCH Family explores this topic and shares some tips of conflict management in marriage.
Emotions can and do run high during a disagreement. But instead of raising your voice and pointing fingers, it would help to process and talk through your feelings with your spouse. Keep the tone of your voice in check. Try to practise mutual respect and self-control while addressing an issue.
What many people tend to do during conflicts is to keep a record of the other party’s past wrongdoings and use it against them. Bringing in past and unrelated events doesn’t help with resolving the issue at hand and should be avoided at all cost. Adopting a ‘give-and-take, agreeing-to-disagree’ approach might be a better way to sustain a relationship in the long run.
Additionally, taking a time-out when an argument gets too heated and exercising forgiveness are some ways to help a marriage thrive in the long run.
Couples can try the 6-Step Strategy to Conflict Management:
Finding out all the facts and being very clear of what the conflict is about is the most important first step. There should be no blame pinned on each other at this stage.
- Choosing one issue
If many issues arise, pick the most pressing issue to work on.
- Brainstorm for solutions
This stage is where the couple will brainstorm and come up with possible solutions to the said problem.
- Agree on a solution
The couple will then decide on the most viable solution and plan when and how to execute it.
- Do/Carry out the solution
This is the action through which the couple will actually carry out the solution plan.
The couple will then take time to follow-up and review if the selected solution works.
(Adapted from PREP Version 8.0 Relationship Intelligence for Couples)
It may seem cumbersome to follow a 6-step strategy, but it can help you and your spouse to focus on resolving the issue as a team without getting distracted by finger pointing or personal attacks.
Most importantly, when conflicts seem too much to handle, focus on your spouse’s positive attributes and remind yourself of why you first fell in love with your spouse and got married. In this marriage, both of you are a team and this team can work towards a win-win situation in any given circumstance. To build your relationship, make it a point to affirm and appreciate your spouse daily for the many good things in him/her that are sometimes taken for granted.
Remember, no one is perfect and having disagreements in a relationship is inevitable. There’s always room for reconciliation when things go wrong between a couple. It takes maturity, time and effort to work through issues. Do not give in to pride, or allow anger and conflict to destroy your marriage.
Want to improve your relationship with your spouse? TOUCH Family is here to help. Contact us at 6709 8400 or [email protected] to find out about our counselling services.
Interested in equipping yourself with useful handles to strengthen your family? Check out our marriage courses and workshops here.
TOUCH Family aims to deliver impact to the community by building strong and fulfilling families, and promoting the well-being of individuals and families in need. It impacts 12,500 families and individuals each year through family-based services and programmes, and strives to provide a holistic integrated service to serve the needs of every person and family at every stage of their lives.