One of the most common reasons why some marriages fall apart is unresolved conflict. Conflict is impossible to avoid in marriage or any relationship; where the trouble comes in is when you have too much conflict or you have unresolved conflict that sits, builds and ultimately damages your marriage. The following guide will help you learn why marriage conflict occurs and how to reduce the conflict in your marriage before it’s too late.
Why Does Marriage Conflict Happen?
There are many reasons why marital conflict happens. The most common reasons include, but are not limited to:
Disagreements regarding major life decisions (buying a house, starting a family, moving to a new location, etc.)
Poor communication skills
Lack of intimacy
Difficulties in marriage after having children
Marital conflict is going to happen in any marriage. A strong marriage can survive normal conflict because normal conflict is resolved in a manner that relieves tension and reduces conflict in the future. However, when you don’t know how to address conflict or you have too much conflict building up, it results in damage to your relationship and the future of your marriage.
How to Reduce Conflict
In order to avoid the negative consequences of conflict in your marriage, you need to know how to reduce it properly. There are two primary approaches to reducing conflict in your marriage: resolving current/active conflict and preventing/mitigating future conflict.
If you have an active/current conflict, you need to learn to resolve it properly through actions such as:
Sit down with your spouse when you are both calm and have an open discussion
Having a third party (such as a therapist) help you discuss the conflict in a constructive manner
If you want to reduce conflict by avoiding or mitigating future conflict, then you need to take steps to prevent future conflict from occurring. These steps can include:
Establishing an open line of communication with your spouse to avoid built-up resentments
Get on the same page regarding major life decisions
Practice effective communication to avoid arguments and misunderstandings
Take conflict resolution classes or read conflict resolution books to help reduce emotional arguments
Allow yourselves to back off and cool down to avoid heated arguments (such as going to another room or going for a walk)
Of course, the best way to reduce conflict is to think ahead and avoid it from occurring in the first place. However, that will not always be possible, in which case refer to the tips to resolving active conflict.
Whether you’re experiencing current conflict or want to prevent future conflict, it’s important to remember that you and your spouse have the same goal: to live together for years to come as a happily married couple. With that in mind, remember to approach your conflict resolution with an open mind and willingness to compromise and work with your spouse to repair the active conflict.
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With our Couples Advent Calendar we'll give you a great marriage tip for each of the 25 days leading up to Christmas. This fun activity will help you focus on your relationship. Make it your next holiday tradition!