Have you wondered, in the heat of a battle, what you were really fighting about? It’s not usually what you say it is on the surface. The inner work begins the moment you are able to go beneath the surface and uncover what it is that really bothers you about what’s happening.
Have you ever just wanted to react to your partner without thinking about it first and with no regard to what the results might be, even if you knew better? You’re not alone. When someone pisses you off, it’s normal for your instincts to kick in and cause you to become defensive and argumentative. But having effective conflict management tools under your belt equips you for the inevitable.
Your wife might drive you crazy, or your husband can get on your very last nerve. It happens to all of us at some point, but how you handle those emotions is paramount to the health of your relationship. In my frequent conversations about relationships, I often hear a variety of excuses and arguments about what’s going wrong, but something I heard recently stuck with me. Someone admitted that they didn’t know how to fight in their marriage. They purposely hurt one another when they disagree, and it leaves them both wanting to walk away. This observation was so real, and although I rarely hear it, I found it to be a true statement for so many couples. While I keep bringing up creating marital peace, it isn’t always as easy as it seems.
My husband suggests that the best time to make an emotional decision is when you’re not emotional. He says you have to decide, when things are good, how to handle arguments.
It is inevitable that in a relationship you will not always see eye-to-eye on every subject. Half of the battle in overcoming disputes is knowing how to have one in the first place. Again, with peace being the target, there are a few things to avoid when you are experiencing conflict:
- Yelling to get your point across works for no one, ever.
- Shutting down and keeping quiet will prevent you from achieving peace.
- Intentionally saying words that are hurtful can cause more long-term pain than we think.
- Not being fully present, open, or aware of your partner’s thoughts and feelings.
- Not taking responsibility for your part in the conflict.
- Having a closed mind.
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In order to make a marriage work, you have to start making decisions that lead to solutions, not create more problems. You have to decide that, when conflicts arise, you will be the water and not the gasoline, completely focused on defusing the situation and creating peace. You must also be clear on what happens as a result of being the gasoline; tempers flare, the conflict grows and can ultimately consume the relationship over time.
I promise that if you take the water route instead, you won’t regret it. You will be doing exactly what is needed to reduce drama and build a healthy partnership. No, it isn’t easy, but, in the end, it does pay off.
BMWK, are you ready to defuse conflict and make your marriage work?