When you get married, conflicts happen. It’s normal. Marriage is not for sissies, but don’t fight with your spouse, argue productively. If you’re going to disagree, be efficient about it.
This is merely the musings of one married lady. When I say fight, I’m just referring to the verbal sparring (arguments) within a marriage. If you’re in an abusive situation, (physically, verbally, sexually, financially, psychologically, etc), this article isn’t for you. Get help immediately.
For those of you who find yourselves consistently unimpressed with your spouse or verbally sparring with your partner, here’s how to take those conversations down a notch and make them more productive for your marriage.
Don’t be surprised.
Disagreements are part of any relationship. Two different people have two completely different perspectives. Don’t be surprised when your point of view doesn’t align with your spouse’s. Getting married is one of the biggest opportunities for personal growth, and I like to think of conflict as a growth accelerant. So, don’t be surprised when conflicts surface. Learn to use them to strengthen, not erode, your relationship.
Don’t run away.
Many of us try to avoid conflict because it makes us uncomfortable. It makes us vulnerable. So we swallow our feelings and try to “make do” with our current situation. Turn the other cheek, right? Wrong. No matter how much we try to let contentious situations “roll off our backs,” they keep popping up. The more we ignore, the more uncomfortable situations show up in our space. When you think about conflict as an opportunity to grow, it makes sense. The conflict comes to you to help you learn a lesson.
When we run away from conflict, we can start to exude all types of passive aggressive energy. All of that emotion has to go somewhere. If it doesn’t come out productively, it comes out at work, in traffic, with our kids, or when your spouse sneezes too loud. You will face it somewhere. You might as well be proactive about it.
Don’t try to win – intend to understand
No one wins in a fight. Both sides say things they later regret and can’t take back. Assuming you love your partner, don’t fight. When you stop fighting, you can start to understand your partner. At first, you may start to understand they’re nuts, insane, egotistical, etc… After a while though, you may start to see how their experience (who they are) shapes how they see the world. Once you understand their frame of reference, you can start to truly see your partner and find some common ground.
Ask what is best for your family.
At the end of the day, if it’s not about being right and it’s not about winning. The only thing that matters is choosing what is best for your family. If you can stop pushing your own agenda and start working toward what is best for everyone in your family, arguments can become solution oriented instead of blaming spiteful conversations intended to harm.
All of the blame and spite arise when you’re not proactive about the conflict. If it drives you nuts when your spouse does (or doesn’t do) fill in the blank, you’ve got to find a way to have the argument sooner rather than later to remain calmer and more intentional instead of waiting until you’ve had a bad day and blowing up for no reason. It’s best for your family, to have intentional conversations. No one (including you) needs to feel the negative backlash of a blow-up that only creates unresolved feelings and increased frustration.
This is what you signed up for.
Remember that whole statement, “for better or for worse?” Well, this is some of it. You may want to strangle each other, but you willingly signed up for this because, at some point (maybe not at this exact moment), you chose to love each other. Just to make sure you got it, I said, “at some point, you ‘chose’ to love each other.” In this moment, you may not like each other but that doesn’t mean you can’t still love each other. Relationships go through a seemingly endless number of evolutions. As you grow, your relationship matures and it’s not always comfortable or enjoyable. It sucks a lot sometimes, but this is it. Sometimes you just have to bow to life as it is.
This isn’t the end.
You may feel like you want to grab the kids, buy a plane ticket and get the hell out of dodge, but this isn’t the end. It’s just a moment and an opportunity to grow. Sure, it may feel good to just have a good old fashion verbal beat down. Even though you know it would feel amazing right now, in the long run, it wouldn’t serve you, your spouse, or your commitment to each other. So take a deep breath. This is not the end. This is marriage. It’s a mega marathon. So remember, don’t fight with your spouse.
Disagreements happen. Expect it. You may even want to learn to embrace it. When you use the suggestions mentioned above, you can actually turn an argument into a form of discovery. You and your spouse are discovering something new about each other. Positive or negative, when you put your family first and start a discussion, what you learn may surprise you. It’s how you handle the surprise that aids in your personal growth and in the collective growth of your marriage and that can only happen when you are intentional and argue productively.
What happens when you have conflict in your marriage? Leave a comment below with how you want to transform the conflicts in your marriage.