At a glance: Some marriage problems are easy to compromise on, others take more work & careful care. These conflict resolution in marriage steps make finding common ground easier.
Plastic smiles and overly polite greetings had started to replace genuine interactions.
For weeks my husband and I tippy-toed around each other. Trying very hard not to restart the conversation that seemed to have no middle ground.
This silent argument became our new normal.
Neither of us are yellers. This fight was quiet on the outside.
But on the inside. It filled every minute and roared with emotion.
It seeped into other interactions, stealing my patience and bringing a negative tone to pretty much every moment of every day.
Finally, we both decided enough was enough.
This conflict had to be resolved.
We had to find some kind of compromise.
Of course, hubby and I have had disagreements in the past. Something was different this time though. This time we needed something more than just talking it out.
I have used conflict resolution to help the kids solve problems since they were very little. We have used conflict resolution as a family for many issues.
It was time to bring that structure to this problem.
7 Simple Steps to Conflict Resolution in Marriage
I mapped out a conflict resolution plan for married couples. It worked so well for us, I thought I would pass the steps onto you.
Find the love. Before you start talking, remind yourself of 3 positive things about your spouse. You are really mad right now… but even when you’re mad you still love him. Find 3 reasons for that love, it will soften you a bit before approaching this really tense subject.
Figure out what you really want. What is your end goal? When the heat is turned up and an argument is on it’s easy to get lost in a stream of “you did this” and “you didn’t do that”. Most of those things have nothing to do with the actual problem at hand. Those points will only shut both of you down.
Take the time to really nail down what you want to accomplish. What do you want your spouse to hear? What is the problem that needs to change? What would you consider a successful outcome?
Find out what he wants. You might think you know the answer to that question. (I always think I know the answer.) But this step is extremely important. This step will make sure you are working to solve the same problem.
It will also make sure your partner feels heard.
**When you ask, the answer may not be as clear as you need it to be. Remember you’ve done the work to nail down the problem… he probably hasn’t.
Listen and ask as many questions as you can. Then listen some more. Try very hard to keep the “yeah but” responses out of your head. This is about your spouse getting to be heard.
One more time for good measure? Your love, your partner, your best friend needs to be heard. Just like you need to be heard (don’t worry you’ll get your turn).
Tell him what you want. Now that you have figured out where the tension is coming from on his side take a minute to reassess… are you both fighting in the same battle? (more on that in the tips)
Tell him what you want and how you feel. Be specific, clear and kind.
Present an idea. Offer up a suggestion for how to solve this problem. Ask for his opinion. Respect what he has to say and if your first suggestion doesn’t work…
Ask for an idea. Back to the really listening. Maybe you like part of the idea but not all of it. Can you offer a new solution that bridges the gap?
Make sure you both understand the decision. This feels silly. It just does. But here’s the thing, it’s worth a minute of silly to walk away from this knowing you both agreed to the same thing.
A few extra tips…
- Split up the conversation. When you both feel passionate about a topic its easy to let emotions carry it away. You are in this for the long haul. You don’t need an answer today. Take a timeout if it turns from a disagreement to a fight. (Just make sure you both understand it’s a timeout — no storming away.)
- While this issue is off the table, connect in some other way. If you’re arguing over house chores, go for a walk together. If the problem is financial… do something fun and free that makes you both laugh.
- Be kind. Always be kind. You can not take back the things you say in anger, so always lead with kindness.
Once you have everything squared away… make sure to celebrate with a fun date night!