Episode 82: Sticks And Stones: Resolving Conflict In Marriage
This week’s episode is dedicated a topic that’s not always super fun to talk about- resolving conflict in marriage. Because as much as we may have grown up thinking we would marry the perfect person and never fight and marriage would just one big endless sleepover, that’s not really the case. We're talking about strategies that have, and haven't, worked for us in the hopes of giving you some more tools for your conflict resolution toolbox.
- Consider why you're bringing up an issue. I tread between not wanting to be a nagging wife, but not wanting to wake up one day with unvoiced resentments I've let simmer for years. So that’s the analysis I conduct. If it’s a small annoyance, I try not to say anything (try being the operative word). If it’s a recurring issue or something I see affecting our family further down the line, I broach the topic. I’m constantly weighing the cost and benefits of addressing issues and learning as the years go.
- Take some time apart from one another. Personally, it helps me clear my head and take a step back from all of the emotion.
- Always have each other's best interest at heart. Going back to the filter I use when I address issues, it’s because I’m trying to think "is this in our best interest as a couple to bring this up?" It's also a helpful lens to look through when issues are being brought to your attention and you want to get defensive. Reminding yourselves that you're on each other's side can diffuse a lot of tension.
- Shift your thinking. Remember to reflect on where you are at fault and what you can do to rectify the problem instead of thinking about where your spouse is at fault.
- Go to bed angry, meaning, you don’t have to resolve everything right away. Sometimes sleep will provide you with the clarity you need to look at the situation differently. Fighting late at night when tensions are high isn't a great idea.
- Listen. Listen. Listen. There’s nothing better you can do for your relationship as a whole. Slow to speak, slow to anger, quick to listen, you guys.
- Divorce is never an option for us. Studies show that roughly ⅔ of couples who consider themselves unhappy will become happy again in 5-10 years and those who did divorce were, on average, no happier than those who stayed together. It can be tempting to think your life will be better either on your own or with someone new, but that’s simply not true. Any time you bring two people together into marriage, the most intimate relationship you'll ever have, there’s going to be tension. Marriage is the bonding of two flawed people and it’s going to take work, but if you stick with it, it will be the most rewarding relationship you’ll ever have. All of that to say, divorce is a word that is never on the table for us. We decided that before we ever even got married and it’s not a word we use, not even when we’re joking.
- Come up with a plan for how to reconcile. What steps are you going to take to fix the problem?