Conflict and compromise are part & parcel of any marital relationship
Do you and your spouse fight “well”? That is not a trick question. There really is such a thing as “healthy conflict” in marriage.
Here at Focus, we find that couples fall into one of three beliefs about marital conflict. One is the group who enters marriage expecting an unrealistic level of agreement and perfection in their relationship. If they are truly happy and meant for one another, they believe, there should not be any conflict. That is not a very realistic view of human relationship. Another group of couples understand they will have conflict, but they believe the solution is to vent all of their anger at each other until they somehow arrive at a solution. There is a lot to be said for making your point and getting important issues on the table. But just spewing your anger onto one another is destructive.
In fact, there is a lot of research to show that chronic and poorly handled conflict is harmful to children. Here are the two most important people in a child’s life, and they are being nasty to each other. That places an unbelievable amount of stress on a child. Children function best with emotional stability and safety in the home. And that leads to the third group of couples. These couples resolve conflict in a way that builds up their relationship rather than tearing it down. How do we go about arguing well, so our disagreements do not destroy our marriage? Well, here are a few things to consider:-
Listen To Your Partner
When healthy couples disagree, they listen respectfully to one another. Many couples are so determined to get their point across they do not really listen to each other’s thoughts and feelings. They want to win the argument instead of resolve the problem.
Stay Calm & Composed
No matter how passionate they feel about their disagreement, healthy couples avoid yelling and calling each other names. Not only will destructive behavior not solve anything, it will drive a wedge between a husband and wife. That causes even further conflict down the road.
Never Threaten Divorce
Emotions can run high in an argument. If a spouse needs to, they can walk out of the room to calm down. But they never make threats to end their marriage. At best, that is a way to manipulate the situation to get their own way. At worst, it will damage the relationship well-beyond the issue they are arguing about. Remember, even healthy couples disagree. They remain healthy by treating each other with respect even in the midst of conflict. Toxic fighting is about winning the argument. Healthy fighting is about resolving the problem while protecting the relationship.
Focus on the Family Malaysia is celebrating 20 years of helping families thrive in May 2017. Find out more at: http://www.family.org.my/20years