3 Effective Ways to Defuse Conflict and Achieve Marital Peace

BY: - 16 Nov '17 | Communication

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As you can imagine, two imperfect people will definitely generate disagreement, frustration and, yes, conflict in a relationship. When you marry, you bring your flaws, a little of the past, and a moderate amount of baggage. In that baggage is the hurt others have caused, your unforgiveness, and the triggers that remind you of just how hard-nosed you have to be.

The natural instinct of most individuals is to defend. When you find yourself in those heated moments, you don’t always know the best way to handle yourself. Typically, during disagreements, tempers flare, harmful words are exchanged, and people shut down.

However, the best option is to first try to defuse the argument. Defuse usually comes as a result of you wanting and needing to do better in the handling of the difficulties that surface in your relationships. It’s really about removing some of the sting by being mindful of the language and behaviors you choose to display. There are several ways to defuse a situation, but a great place to begin is with the following:

Carefully consider what should happen next with words and actions.

Planning the conversation is a critical piece. Knowing what you’re going to say prior to saying it, is an absolute must. In this area, being selective with your words and body language allows you to have better emotional control in that moment.

Listen.

Although there are valid points you want to address in situations like the ones listed above, you must focus on your ability to listen. Listening— really listening—means you set aside your agenda and open yourself up to another point of view.

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Practice the power of the pause.

This is a method we teach that encourages individuals to take a step back. This necessary pause allows there to be some space between your emotions and actions. Whenever you start to hear something you don’t like or is opposite of your views, it’s important to pause before you simply react.

When emotions take control, you are unable to think as rationally as you would otherwise. You might be more prone to be hurtful. Thinking of the consequences by playing out that whole scenario will provide the awareness needed to maintain control over yourself. The thinking should be, “If I say this, here’s what will happen.” If what will happen is not the intended goal, a different action has to
occur.

The bottom line is, if you’re yelling, you are no longer listening, nor being listened to. When you fail to discuss what is on your mind, it only builds up and causes even more hostility later on, and being purposefully hurtful leads to wounds that are hard to heal.

Your goal during conflict is not to win; it’s to get your point across, listen for your partner’s point, and meet up somewhere in the middle with a reasonable solution. The benefit in being the peacemaker is that you have the power to lead the conversation and situation back to a happy space.

BMWK, are you ready to effectively defuse your arguments?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 635 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit www.thelifeandlovecoach.com and www.theboldersister.com.

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5 Ways to Keep Positive Communication Flowing Regardless of How You Get it Out

BY: - 3 Jan '18 | Communication

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It would take an entire book in itself to touch on every different communication style. If you Google different communication personality types, you’ll find a range of categories you can fall into that vary based on the system used or who came up with it. However, there are a few things that influence your communications style that it’s important to understand when trying to communicate with your spouse clearly.

Compliant and Non-Compliant

Some people are “pleasers.” Their main goal is to avoid conflict. They want to do what they can to make and keep others happy. These people are more compliant with others around them. Others are not. They don’t mind confrontation. They don’t hesitate in speaking their minds, and their opinion can come regardless of how the other person feels.

Most people don’t fall at the extreme ends of the spectrum and their traits will lie somewhere in the middle, but whether you are opposites or two of the same, the personality types can cause balance when they work, and challenges when they don’t.

When you have a marriage with someone who aims to please and someone who does not, the compliant spouse may go along to keep the peace. If the non-compliant spouse is not adept at reading the other spouse’s signals, and the compliant spouse doesn’t get skilled speaking up, the more assertive spouse will more often than not get his or her way. The compliant spouse doesn’t speak up; meanwhile, the other spouse thinks that everything is great and running smoothly.

This type of set up can breed resentment in both the compliant spouse and the non-compliant spouse. Sometimes the compliant spouse may hold it all in until she blows up, confusing the one on the receiving end. If you fall into this category, there are a few things you need to remember to keep
communication running smoothly:

Communicate intentionally and often

This is important if one person in the relationship is more hesitant to speak his or her mind. Giving your spouse consistent time and a safe space to communicate is important for making sure that his voice is given equal weight and heard.

Providing a safe space for the compliant spouse

The pleaser’s main hesitation is the possibility of confrontation. Make sure if you’re on the non-pleasing side that you are able to hear and listen without interrupting. Provide comfortable space for your spouse to express him or herself. Don’t assume everything is fine and don’t make the complaint spouse feel like he or she is shot down for having opinions.

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Compliant spouse—speak up

You are not being fair to the other person by not being open. Making your voice heard is a part of being honest. Omitting information isn’t far away from telling a lie. Your marriage needs your voice, so make sure you use it.

But what if your personalities don’t lie on opposite ends? What if you’re both the same? If you are both compliant, you have a tendency to shy away from the issues. Problems in the marriage may not be confronted or resolved at all if you don’t communicate often.

Take time on a regular basis to sit down and talk about your marriage

You may want to have a few focus areas that you touch on regularly since it might not be natural to talk about conflict immediately.

Learn to read each other’s cues

Over time, it becomes easier to tell when your partner isn’t spilling what is on her mind. If she looks like she’s holding back, ask. Understand that holding it in is only hurting your marriage. Maybe it seems that keeping things conflict free is always the solution, but if you aren’t advocating for yourself, you stop advocating for your marriage.

Don’t be afraid to face the conflict. Disagreements are a natural part of any relationship and are necessary for relationship growth. And what if neither of you is compliant? The challenge for two non-pleasers won’t be that you have difficulty saying what’s on your mind. Your challenge when the systems go awry is that you will have a more difficult time coming to an agreement. You may have to put in a little more work to agree and will benefit from conflict management. The following tips will be
important to you in being able to communicate with each other without fighting:

  • Know who you are and be honest about it – Some people are clear that they are assertive when it comes to getting their way; others aren’t as clear on where they stand. Once you know that you both share similar traits when it comes to being non-pleasers, it will be easier to manage your communications challenges.
  • Know that sometimes, one of you will have to submit – Ideally, every disagreement would be solved by each spouse coming to a mutually agreeable solution that leaves everyone equally happy. But this is the real world. At times compromise will take more on the part of one person. There will be points where one of you may have to give up a little more to get along.

Communication is at the heart of everything we do in marriage. Whether it’s through daily interactions or through managing disagreements, our successes and failures in marriage hinge upon what and how we’re communicating to our spouses with our words and our actions.

BMWK, are you keeping the communication flowing positively?

About the author

Aja Dorsey Jackson wrote 213 articles on this blog.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marriage educator in Baltimore, Maryland and author of the blog and book, Making Love in the Microwave.

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