Singaporebrides | Relationships

August 2023

8 Techniques to Deal with Conflict in Your Marriage

Practise these 8 techniques to deal with conflict in marriage.

Is your marriage not proving to be quite the happily ever after you were expecting? If your married life has been rife with strife, you may start to question whether you made the right decision after all.

Don’t worry; the difference between happy marriages and unhappy marriages isn’t the presence of conflict, but how it’s managed. Resolving conflict in a relationship requires open communication, empathy, and a willingness to work together. Here are some effective ways to deal with conflict in your marriage:

1. Listen and Validate

When you’re in a fight, you instinctively shout and accuse. But the opposite is necessary for productive conflict. Listen attentively and empathetically to the other’s perspective without interrupting or making assumptions. Take turns to show genuine interest in understanding each other’s feelings and point of view, until you each feel heard.

All emotions are valid. Acknowledge and validate your partner’s feelings; you don’t need to agree with them. Validating emotions can help create a safe space for open communication as your partner feels heard and understood.

Rebecca and Abloy’s Destination Pre-Wedding Shoot in Switzerland with Breathtaking Scenery and Powder-White Snow by Wanderlust Dream

2. Step into each other’s shoes

You’re fighting about something, and you want your partner to see how wrong they are, so you list out all the things they’re doing wrong and all the ways they should change. Unfortunately, yelling out your partner’s shortcomings is not likely to inspire them to change. You’ll probably put your partner on the defensive instead.

For a more effective approach, try stepping into the other person’s shoes and seeing things from their point of view. Take a deep breath, and consider that they may also be right. Instead of thinking of conflict as something where one partner wins and the other loses, embrace a “team” mindset. Accept that the both of you can be right, which will shift the conversation from doing things their way or your way, to finding a creative solution together, as a team.

3. Use “I” Statements

It’s common to fling accusations during a conflict: “You’re always late!” “You’re the one who didn’t do the dishes!” But accusatory statements just put your partner on the defensive.When discussing issues, express your feelings and thoughts using “I” statements rather than blaming or accusing the other person, for example, “I felt like I wasn’t important to you, waiting alone for such a long time at the cinema,” or “I cooked and I needed help with the dishes.” This helps prevent defensiveness and keeps the focus on your emotions and needs.

4. Avoid Escalation

If you can’t get through to your partner, you may start to shout louder or move to sarcasm or name-calling in an effort to get them to understand how upset you are. But raising your voice or using hurtful language only serves to escalate the conflict further. Stay calm and composed during discussions to keep them more fruitful.

Michelle and Juen’s Heartwarming Wedding at 1-Arden by Leslie Photography

5. Find Common Ground

It’s helpful to remind each other on the things you do agree on. Remember that you’re on the same team. Identifying shared goals and common ground can help shift the focus from differences to finding solutions together. For example, remind yourselves that you’re both feeling tired from being overwhelmed at work, or that you both want the best for this family. When you focus on your team strengths instead of your partner’s perceived flaws, it’s easier to build cooperation.

6. Take Responsibility

If an apology is needed, show true remorse and offer an authentic one, so that your partner knows you mean it and something will change. Even when you stand by your actions, you can regret the way in which you performed them or fought about them. But don’t give an empty apology just to shut down the argument; this fosters resentment that can build up and implode down the road.

Amanda and Stanley’s Steampunk and Raw Industrial Pre-Wedding Shoot by Hong Ray Photography

7. Delve Deeper

When you find yourselves having the same fight over and over again, you need to ask yourselves what the argument is truly about. Look deep into yourself and reflect on why this is so important to you. When you understand yourself and your triggers, you can work to resolve the conflict better.

8. Keep Talking Until You Feel Heard

It’s natural to want the conflict to end as quickly as possible. If you feel overwhelmed, you may check out or shut down. While it’s okay to take a break to calm yourselves down, you should revisit the conversation when you’re feeling more in control of your emotions. Take the time to talk and listen to each other until you both feel truly heard and understood. Only then will you be ready to move forward.

Conflicts are a natural part of any relationship. The key is to handle them constructively and view them as opportunities for growth and better understanding between partners. The longer you’re married, the more you’ll argue, but also, the better you’ll argue. As you understand each other better, you’ll be able to use conflict as productive stepping stones to a stronger and healthier marriage.

Credits: Feature image by Yu Rong and Kevin’s Laidback Outdoor Pre-Wedding Shoot and Cosy Wedding at Wheeler’s Estate by GrizzyPix Photography

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8 Techniques to Deal with Conflict in Your Marriage