Tips for Dealing with Conflict in Your Marriage

When I got married, I was unprepared for dealing with conflict. The arguments we had during our first year of marriage devastated me. How could picture hanging or cooking together be so hard? I’d end up in tears—or on the phone with a friend of mine, telling her what had happened and wondering if I’d made a mistake in getting married.

Tips for Dealing with Conflict in Your Marriage (31 Days to a Happy Husband)

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How we deal with conflicts, disagreements and decisions has a huge impact on the health and happiness of our relationships. The best marriages are not those in which there is no conflict, but those in which the conflict in handled in a healthy manner by both spouses.

Sometimes, in my anger after an argument, I’ve been guilty of gossiping just to release my pent-up feelings. Of course, someone who isn’t involved in the original conflict is rarely the person with whom to discuss it (with the exception of a counselor who can help you resolve that conflict).

I also dislike conflict, so I often avoided it rather than facing it. Again, avoiding conflict didn’t help it go away. Often, it only created larger feelings of resentment as one issue after another wasn’t resolved and small issues slowly became bigger issues.

Sometimes, something that is a big issue to one spouse is a non-issue to another spouse. Lisa found that out when she got annoyed at her husband for not putting things away properly in the fridge. She considered several ways to deal with the issue and found a way to solve it creatively. She resolved the problem by calmly explaining her feelings—and then labeling the fridge.

“…many couples who seem to have no difficulty communicating before marriage find communication coming to a standstill after marriage. The basic reason for this change is that, before marriage, no decision had to be made. They talked freely about any issue and then departed, each to do their own thing. After marriage, however, they are attempting to experience oneness, and decisions must be made that will affect both partners.” ~ Dr. Gary Chapman, The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

Here are some ways dealing with conflict productively:

  1. Journal about it. Writing it down can help you think about it, without hurting anyone. Once you’ve calmed down a bit, you can reread what you’ve written and think about how you could deal with the situation better. It will also help to journal about something good he’s done for you (or to make a habit of writing down things you love about him, when you feel loving) so you can review those when you feel angry.
  2. Pray about it (and ask the saints to pray for you). Ask God for wisdom and grace in the situation. Read your Bible or the story of one of the saints who endured despite a difficult marriage.
  3. Ask yourself if this conflict is worth fighting over or if it is something you simply need to accept about your husband. Be careful about this, however. I didn’t want to be a nagging wife, so too often I didn’t confront my husband about things—but I still resented him for them. If you are going to accept, for example, that he will never walk his socks to the dirty laundry bin, then you need to take those socks to the dirty laundry yourself without ever getting mad at him for not doing it.

Talk with a friend about your conflict

Sometimes, after a topic has caused conflict, it can be hard to return to that topic to resolve the conflict. You and your husband are emotionally invested in the topic and so discussing it is scary. It might help to talk things over with someone else (a third party who is not emotionally involved) before talking it over with your husband.

Choose one trusted, godly, wise, happily-married friend to whom you can confide. Remember you are confiding in her not to tear down your husband or to justify your side of the argument, but  to get her help in working through this with your husband. She may help you be able to see his side of things or talk through your feelings so that you can better express them to your husband. She can also hold you accountable to talking with him; ask her to ask you in a few days or a week if you resolved the argument.

You may also want to consult a marriage counselor. A marriage counselor is trained to help couples overcome difficulties and work together. They may be able to see things in your relationship that even a close friend can’t see. They may be able to give better advice or more creative solutions than a friend can give.

For example, because I grew up in a family where conflict was not okay, I needed to learn to handle conflict in healthier ways. A counselor helped me to see how those learned childhood patterns were now affecting my marriage, find some healing, and work towards better ways of dealing with conflict in my marriage.

At the end of the day, remember that you’re on the same team and fighting the same enemy. Try to come together to resolve conflicts, rather than letting those conflicts push you further apart.

How do you and your husband make decisions and resolve disagreements? What has helped you in dealing with conflict?

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One Response

  1. Brenda C Leyland October 22, 2014

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