Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Simple Conflict Resolution Tips for Marriage

Learning how to successfully resolve conflict in marriage, or in any relationship, is absolutely essential. As humans, we are all different. I know, crazy right? These differences can cause occasional conflict. Or like I mentioned in my last post, when miscommunication happens it can lead to conflict if we are not careful. There are many tips on how to resolve conflict, and I am learning a few things in this first year of marriage about what conflict resolution tools work well. Below are a few tips that actually work well in marriage, and any relationship. 

1. Stop, Drop and Roll. 

Stop, Drop and Roll: A simple mindfulness technique to manage stress and anxiety.:

How does this apply to marriage? By following these steps when conflict arise it can have a less damaging impact on your relationship. Hub Pages gives a simple explanation in the picture above. First, stopping involves you becoming aware that you are in a position of distress in the first place. To diffuse an argument you must first stop reacting and getting upset. Second, dropping your anger allows resolution to begin. This also helps with forgiveness later. Lastly, roll along and don't allow the conflict to linger longer than it needs to be. If you follow these steps when conflict is beginning to start it wont have as damaging of an impact. For a simple easy conflict resolution just remember Stop, Drop and Roll. 

2. If you fight, fight fair. 

If you are going to fight, remember to fight fair. You wouldn't like it if in the championship game your opponent gets an unfair advantage, so why would you do this in your marriage? But, what are the rules to fighting fair? Here are 10 from #staymarried (see infographic to the right). Some that I like are no interrupting, no generalizations, and no yelling. I believe that you shouldn't break these 10 rules in your arguments with your spouse because it opens the door for more hurt feelings and grudges. I feel that these rules don't just apply to a marriage relationship, but any and every relationship. Remember to apply these rules to your marriage only as far as they are applicable. I think it is important to discuss with your spouse what rules you want to apply. The Therapist Aid also has a list of more rules to fair fighting that I believe can help your marriage. One of their rules is to only discuss one issue at a time. They say that once you get off topic it can become two issues that need resolving and not just one. If you follow the rules to fair fighting in your relationship, your arguments will be less damaging and more constructive. 

3. Don't bring up unnecessary points.

This kind of goes with the first two, but I feel this is absolutely essential to productive conflict resolution. Allison from Pint Sized Treasures in discussing productive conflict resolution repeats the age-old phrase, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." There are many harsh things that can be said in anger. A small disagreement can turn into a destructive argument when harsh words are spoken. This can decrease the trust in your marriage. Faithreel gives 5 great easy ways to diffuse an argument and number three is "don't retaliate, instead hesitate." Don't bring up past arguments, or threaten any type of abuse. How much more productive can conversations with your spouse be if you follow this simple piece of advice? In my marriage, we've made a list of words or phrases that we will not say during an argument. We have agreed that we will never talk about divorce or even joke about it. Our marriage is eternal, and to talk as if it is not is being unappreciative of the gift that God has given us. Determine in your marriage what you won't talk about during arguments or what words to not use. By applying this step in your conflict resolution, it can decrease the opportunity to get even more upset. I believe that this tip can drastically improve your ability to resolve conflict in your marriage. 

4. Have hope. 
I know this isn't a tip to resolve conflict, but I feel it is important to mention. Know that all relationships will face conflict, but successful ones know how to get through these conflicts and come out on top even better. If every argument isn't resolved perfectly, it's okay! As long as over time you and your spouse are working together as a team to rationally and successfully resolve the conflict in your marriage, you are doing something right! As you pray to God for help to decrease your anger and increase your strength to follow these guidelines, I know that you can and will receive heavenly help! 

I know that if you follow these simple pieces of advice, the way you resolve conflict in your relationship will improve. I encourage you to discuss these tips with your spouse and come up with your list of fair fighting rules. Remember, conflict will happen; the important part is how you learn and grow from it. I encourage you to practice effective conflict resolutions so that your marriage can withstand the trials and test's of life together!


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