We all get married thinking and hoping that we will never argue with our spouse, however, we always end up arguing over something no matter how silly or serious the issue, which is why conflict resolution is such an important lesson and skill that every person, married or unmarried, should know and have.

Conflict is unavoidable, especially in marriage. Luckily, there are ways to resolve these problems. Understanding your differences is important, as well as accepting those differences and pursuing the other person to sit down and have a confrontation–but not one out of anger. Make sure confrontations are of mutual respect and love. Forgiving each other is essential–a conflict within a marriage is between both of you, so you both have faults in there that need to be forgiven.  

There are many reasons why you should resolve conflicts within your marriage, even aside from the obvious ones. Depending on how severe the conflict is, you will need to have different ways to come to a successful resolution together. Some conflicts are smaller, like what color you should paint the bathroom downstairs. Others are more serious, like overspending when money is tight and the other getting angry.

Skills for Successfully Resolving Conflict

There are plenty of skills or strategies you and your spouse can use to resolve these conflicts. Some, to many people, are obvious. Others may seem hard to achieve, but being in a relationship can be hard at times and you need to remember to work together to resolve your problems. Marriage takes teamwork, and there is no “i” in team! Here are some strategies to help you and your spouse successfully and efficiently reach resolution within a conflict:

Stay on topic. Don’t allow either one of you to bring up past arguments that may or may not have been settled properly. Keep to the original issue at hand–other issues can be resolved later.

Figure out the main issue. Similar to staying on topic, you need to know what the exact problem at hand is. This will help you to get to the bottom of the issue faster.

Do not assume what is upsetting the other person the most. Ask your partner what is wrong, what is bothering him or her the most. Do not try to read his or her mind; this will not work and you could worsen the issue at hand.

Try to get on the same side. If you are both continuously on opposing sides of any argument, coming to a conclusion will be hard if not impossible. Try to meet in the middle or see things from the other person’s perspective.

Do not just give up and move on. The phrase “never let the sun fade upon and argument” holds a lot of truth and meaning. Do not just move on with your lives if you are in the middle of a dispute: work on fixing it together. It might take a while, but the end outcome can bring you and your spouse closer together, which is worth it in the long run.

Remember that your marriage is more important than being right and “winning” the argument. If your spouse settles on your side, are you truly winning? In short answer, no. You might have a temporary satisfaction, but in the long run, your spouse might start to distance him or her self.

Forgive quickly and admit your wrongs. Always make sure you forgive your spouse. True love does not keep records of wrongs, so admit when you made a mistake or said something rude and apologize.

Follow some or all of these strategies to successfully and efficiently come to a conclusion and resolve your problems together.

How Do I Resolve Conflicts with My Spouse?

There are good and bad ways to resolving conflicts within your marriage. Clearly, the goal is to aim for the healthy ways to come to an agreement. You never want to allow the conflict to brush over and forget about it. Doing that will almost guarantee it coming back up in another argument later on down the road. You want to make sure you sit down together and figure out what is truly bothering each of you and what you can do to fix this.

The Wrong Way

Often times, the husband will leave and hope the problem dissolves on it’s own or just give up, saying “Fine, you’re right. I’m done with this.” While that does end the argument, it does not solve the problem. This is often a strategy used by men when handling conflict with their wife. There won’t ever be the satisfied feeling of coming to a strong and clear resolution with your wife and can make you feel distanced from her.

Men will also often use aggression and try to assert their dominance, which is unhealthy in any relationship, married or not. They do this in attempt to gain control over the situation and get their way. If this is the case, the wife submits and does what her husband says even if it is not what she wants to do. This is a form of mental abuse and should not be used under any circumstance.

Women, however, tend to do things a little differently. Wives may try to gain control of the situation by manipulating her husband and not saying important facts about the problem, essentially tricking her husband into changing his mind. If the wife is confident she knows better,  she may try to challenge her husband.

Women also tend to just give in and agree with what her husband has to say. They try to avoid conflict by submitting and allowing their husband to make choices because it’s easier than arguing.

All of these tactics are manipulative in their own ways, and not effective for a long term conflict resolution. For a brief amount of time the problem might be solved, but could arise again later on down the road if the couple gets into an argument over something else. Even if the couple is arguing about a completely different topic, often past arguments are brought up out of anger and spite, especially if the conflict was not settled properly.

The Right Ways

There are multiple ways to successfully resolve conflict within your marriage. Some are more simple than others, but it all depends on how severe the issue between the two spouses are. For example, if the two of you are getting into a heated argument it might be best if you each go into a separate room for a few minutes to cool down and decompress, that way you do not risk saying something hurtful. If it is a smaller disagreement, you might just be able to sit down and come to a compromise together.

If you do need to go to a different room to calm down, do not leave the house. Leaving and avoiding the conflict will not fix anything. Instead, while you and your partner are taking a breather, think about how you can calmly go about fixing the issue. If needed, write down exactly why you are upset and what you want your partner to do to help fix the situation and what you can do. Once you are calm, go back in and sit down with your spouse.

Start with a simple “I’m sorry if I said anything that hurt your feelings.” Let them know how you are feeling too. Open communication is important to have to have a successful marriage. After you both know how one another are feeling, start with explaining why you are frustrated or upset with what the problem is. Allow them to do the same. Once you understand exactly what the issue is and both sides of it, talk about how you can fix the problem.

If you suspect your partner is suddenly agreeing more with you, bring it up. Do not let him or her just settle on what you want just to end the conflict. Make sure they know you care and you are willing to work with them to figure out how to fix this so both of you are happy. Also, if you suspect your spouse is keeping something from you, calmly ask them. Do not pry to much as this might cause an outburst, but let them know it’s okay and you won’t get mad, that all you want to do is fix the problem.

Successful conflict resolution usually ends in a compromise of some sort. If you each can figure out what you want from the other and are willing to do it, great. If you are not, tell them what you are willing to do, and then have them do the same. Once everything is solved, always end with a hug and an “I forgive you.” Make sure they know you are no longer mad and that the situation has been taken care of. Remember not to stay mad; do not just say you are over it because it’s easier that way.

Why is Conflict Resolution Important?

Whatever you call them–arguments, debates, disagreements–every couple will encounter conflicts throughout their time together no matter how in love they are. Conflicts often occur from poor communication, poor listening skills or lack of expressing emotions and feelings about things.

Having proper communication and listening skills will help you if you want a long, healthy and happy relationship. This is why conflict resolution is so important. Successfully resolving issues within the relationship will help both of you learn better communication and listening skills.

Successful couples are able to resolve their problems quickly and efficiently. They know how important it is not to go to bed mad with each other.  Staying mad at your partner can create even more problems which will lead to an unhappy marriage that might not last long.

No couple ever thinks they will get divorced, but there is a higher chance of that happening when you do not resolve your problems. Continuing to be resentful towards your spouse can also lead to verbal abuse and commitment issues. If you have children together, that can seriously impact them as they grow up.

Conflict is not always a bad thing, though. Often times, when you come to a resolution, you can bring your marriage closer and strengthen the bond between the two of you. When this outcome happens, you become stronger as a couple and are able to withstand more complicated problems in the future. The trick for this happening, is how you and your spouse choose to resolve your problems.

Related Questions

What can I do about constant, loud arguments? If you are in a relationship and you are always arguing with yelling and screaming, the best option is to leave the relationship. If your partner is threatening you, there are helplines you can call to get help and shelters you can stay at until you are able to return to a safe environment. Do not stay in a verbally abusive relationship; if you have kids, it will affect the kids just as negatively as it affects you. Reach out for help if you are in this situation.

Will marital conflict affect children? When children are consistently exposed to conflict between their parents, there is a higher risk of the child developing aggression in either physical or verbal ways.

Depending on the amount of conflict, it can negatively affect the way the parents care for their children, often leading to neglect or spoiling their children to ‘make up’ for what has been done or said. Less effective parenting can lead to other problems as the child grows up to be an adult including poor communication, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety problems, and their own relationship problems.

Amber Harrison

Amber Harrison

Inside the mind and life of a first time stay at home mom–recipes, DIY and adventures!