Blog #599 Handling conflict in marriage

Communications in Marriage – part II

Yesterday we looked at communication tips for couples.  Today we finish by looking at strategies to end arguments.  

-1 Validate and Apologize: The article states: “Let your partner know that you understand their point of view by validating them.  It may sound obvious, but don’t forget to take responsibility for what you’ve done and apologize if necessary.”

You need to keep calm (see yesterday’s blog).  Support your partner by indicating that they have validated their point of view.  Apologies are always appropriate (even if you are not wrong). Apologize for not understanding their point of view, apologize for arguing.

-2 Another way to end an argument is to change the topic of conversation.  Do this in a gentle and sensitive way. Arguments that seem to be stuck in the same loop, with repetition in the arguments may be put on hold with a change of topic.  You should agree that at that point in time, there is an impasse and suggest that you can return to the discussion/argument at a later time (that is, give both parties time off to think (and pray) about what is going on).  

-3 Use Humor.  When arguments are getting heated, it might be good to have some levity/humor to defuse the negativity.  

-4 Yield to one another.  Unless this is the “ULTIMATE” argument, then there might be times to yield.  Is this argument so significant to divide the couple in a divorce? If not, yield “I am sorry.  I understand that we aren’t going to solve this today. Let’s agree to disagree currently.

-5 Make physical contact. Put arms or touch the other’s shoulder.  Note this can backfire, so be sure your spouse is open to this move.  Touch can relieve tension

-6 Take a break from the argument/discussion.  The author suggests this is like rebooting a computer – bring a fresh view to the discussion.  If one or both of the couple are tired and cranky, this might be a good solution.

-7 Find common agreement.  If, say, you are discussing some discipline for a child, you might need to agree that the action of the child was significant and you can agree on that common ground – and then maybe you can work together on a punishment.

-8 Set a timer.  People need to be heard.  For example, set a timer for five minutes.  Person 1 gets five minutes to say all they want to say.  Then person 2 gets five minutes. No interrupting allowed.  And, the quiet person is to use active listening to understand.

The author ends the article with this statement:

“In general, when communicating with your significant other, try to both listen and speak in a non-defensive manner.  Keep in mind that anger is considered a secondary emotion; it’s usually fueled by the more primary emotions related to grief (a sense of loss/sadness) and/or fear.  Granted, anger can be justified, but when you or your spouse is feeling this way, it can be helpful to look at the broader emotional landscape. By addressing the underlying fear or sense of loss, anger can be greatly diminished.”

Basically, communicate openly, without emotions.  You are two human beings who love each other. You should be able to communicate within a loving relationship.

So, do you have a lot of arguments?  Can these ideas help you?


Posted by Bruce White

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