Conflict resolution between spouses is not for wimps!
Most people I know would rather avoid conflict than to deal with it.
Well, until I call them wimps and then they become defensive for some reason. I simply call them as I see them. They are usually taking the easy way out by denying there is anything wrong or playing the blame game and saying “It’s not my problem”.
The first step for any conflict to get resolved is to admit there is a problem.
Conflicts come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. What one person sees as a problem may not seem like much at all to another person (which is why whenever you feel there is something wrong you should discuss it rather than sweeping it under the rug.)
Does he squeeze the wrong end of the toothpaste or leave his clothes lying about or leave the seat up?
Does she use your razor on her legs or forget where she left the tax receipts or the remote (found it in the freezer once!)?
Sure, all these items may seem ridiculously small and there are other much larger issues that could and should be discussed. I just wanted to make a rather harmless list to show you how to start the discussion about anything you need to bring up.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Just listening to your spouse can help you avoid conflicts before they take root. I have written a lot about how to improve your listening skills (Gain their attention, Avoid distractions, Try to empathize with the speaker, use your patience and Listen for more than their words but listen to their ideas).
Listen to whatever your spouse says and be slow to respond and even slower to become angry about what is said.
Sometimes your spouse just needs to vent and not have you try to solve a problem. When you feel ready to respond, try to ask questions for better clarification. “Did you really mean that when you said you hate it when I leave the seat up?” Don’t get defensive about it or angry about it. Try to understand your spouse’s frustration when they say “Yes, I would really like it if after anyone uses the remote they put it back here by the box for the next person to use”.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The best atmosphere for true change and happy resolutions of conflict is one of love and forgiveness. No one wants to be yelled at. Treat others as you want to be treated. A quiet gentle answer turns hot wrath away from you and even stops its progress, turns it aside and can make it retreat. It is like cooling salve on a wound and can help heal words which wound. Draw close together and either hold hands or simply touch your spouse with affection and the hurt and anger will drain away and you will be able to focus on the problem and work together to solve it.
“You’re right. I should put my clothes in the hamper as soon as I take them off or right after my shower. I’ll try to remember. Please be patient with me.”
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
It is a great mercy we have from God that he allows us to be cheerful in our lives. Joy in our hearts is simply an attitude of gratitude. Express early and often your heart felt gratefulness for your spouse’s love of you and your family. Smile as you tell your spouse you love them and appreciate them. Actions lead feelings so if we act grateful (and mean it!) we will eventually feel grateful.
Show your spouse your love for them by caring actions. Put the seat down or put the remote back when you’re done.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”.
God chose this person to be your spouse for life. God has a plan and a purpose for your lives and you should lift each other up in prayer daily. Give thanks unto God for bringing the two of you together according to his will and his timing. Your spouse is a precious gift God has given you and deserves to be cherished, protected, loved and cared for just as Christ loves and cares for his church.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
No one in a marriage should ever feel as if they are going it alone. Each should seek to help the other carry the load. Sharing the daily chores of keeping a house running divides the burdens in half and multiplies the joys of life. Perhaps you cannot cook or indeed “Should Not!” but you can certainly help; either by preparing the food to be cooked or cleaning the pots and utensils afterwards.
And above all, be ready and willing to forgive each other. No one is perfect, no, not one. Everyone has faults and needs forgiveness from time to time.
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake and I will not remember your sins”
God has forgiven you of everything you ever did wrong in his sight. Who are you to hold a grudge against anyone? Are you greater than God? NO! So then, you should be as willing to forgive others as you have been forgiven.
Accept that things don’t always make sense in a relationship and that confusion and misunderstandings can happen easily. It’s a mark of maturity when you can say, I’m so sorry for my part in what has happened between us. Take responsibility early for your words and deeds. Be sincere and seek forgiveness while being willing to forgive just as quickly. God has separated your wrongs from you as far as the east is from the west. You should do the same. Forgive the wrong and then forget it (never use it as ammunition to bring up again later).