Resolving Conflicts

The Presence of Conflicts

Before marriage, they agreed on everything. After marriage, they fought about everything. Why do we have conflicts after marriage that never appeared before marriage? After marriage and after the “in love” obsession fades as it always does, we revert to our natural tendency to think that “my way is the best way.” We seek to use our persuasive logic to convince the spouse. When they are unconvinced, we get angry and often use cutting derogatory remarks.

Want to solve your conflicts? Here’s an idea: never discuss conflicts “on the run”. Rather set aside time specifically for resolving conflict. I suggest that once a week you have a “conflict resolution session.” The rest of the week you can focus on the things you like about each other. Make positive comments about your spouse. This creates a healthy climate in which to discuss your conflicts. Every resolved conflict brings you closer together.

The Way to Discuss Problems

When you sit down to discuss a conflict, take turns talking. Start with five minutes each. Then you can have as many turns as needed, but don’t interrupt each other with your own ideas. Wait for your turn.

Ask questions to help you understand your spouse. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your spouse and see the world through their eyes. Try to understand what they are thinking and feeling, and why it is so important to them. Never condemn their feelings or thoughts. They are unique and will not see the world as you see it. The point is not to condemn, but to find a workable solution that addresses both of your concerns. When you have listened, try affirming your spouse’s ideas and feelings. Sympathetic listening and affirming statements create a positive climate in which to look for solutions.

Goal: Finding Solutions

Humans are all unique. We see the world differently. The common mistake is to try to force one’s spouse to see the world “the way I see it.” Resolving conflicts requires that you treat you spouse’s ideas and feelings with respect, not condemnation. The purpose is not to prove your spouse wrong, but to find a “meeting of the minds”, a place where the two of you can work together as a team. You don’t have to agree in order to resolve a conflict. You simply have to find a workable solution to your differences.

“What would be workable for you?” is a good place to begin. Now you are focusing on resolution rather than differences. Two adults looking for a solution are likely to find one.


2 Responses to “Resolving Conflicts”

  1. Karen Says:

    Thank you. What about when you are not married nor engaged but in a serious relationship? How do you show reverance to him in this relationship and resolve conflicts in subission?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    9 mo. ago, I filed for divorce after 32 yrs. of marriage. I had left my husband twice before; once for a week after the lst yr. of our marriage, the second time I filed for divorce after 3-1/2 yrs. of marriage, but stopped the divorce a yr. later to try again. Although we dated for 3 yrs, I now realize I had serious doubts about our marriage, but thought it was maybe simply being "nervous" over the whole change in life. I discovered your books one day while searching for understanding of why our marriage failed. I started w/your "5 Love Languages (committment)" progressing to all the remaining books on marriage. My decision to divorce my husband was very difficult. I loved being married & loved him but frankly, I realized I could no longer live with the pain, abuse (physical, emotional & verbal) & my increased anger & built-up resentment. One day after a particularly difficult statement made by my husband, I actually felt like my "heart" had broken; my love for him was gone. I learned through your books that I had made the right decision. I realized without having read any of your books prior to my leaving that I had done everthing & more to try to save this union. The simple truth is I now believe my husband did not love me, had not for a while, but simply wanted to continue the charade because he was "comfortable". He came home from work sat down in his recliner, turned on his lap-top & the TV. We would then eat dinner with some simple conversation & he would do the dishes most of the time. I did all the laundry, cleaning, shopping, planning & finances. Our biggest problem was "lack of communication". To say the least there was never any communication because my husband took everything as a personal attack. Within 2 wks. of marriage, he stopped talking to me starting the long trend of Passive Agressive issues. He refused to go for counseling w/me; I went 5 times over 20 yrs. even telling me "he hadn't done anything wrong". Frankly, I will never get it. The one thing I do understand after reading your wonderful books is sadly, not every marriage can be saved, but I know I gave 100%+ trying to save this marriage; I have no second thoughts or guilt. While I believe we had everthing going for us; his negativity about all things finally did what negativity always does "it killed a great thing".

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