3). Know your spouse’s heart. I just finished counseling a couple married for 26 years. Working with them, we started looking at the places in their soul that harbored pain. They were amazed to find out how little they knew about each other. Knowing your spouses’ source of pain from childhood will help you understand their communication style better. Do they avoid connection and conflict? Do they yell and insist on their own way? There are deep- seated reasons they respond in this manner to conflict. It would be good to find out the core heart-level things going on with your spouse if this is the pattern for them.
4). Schedule discussions that involve serious topics. This small tip alone can save you hours of hurtful communication. I advise many couples to schedule a “business meeting” for their marriage. During this meeting time, the really difficult subjects that need resolved can be tackled. Meeting your husband or wife at the door when they walk in from a work atmosphere full of conflict is probably not the best time to resolve a problem.
5). Ditch the word “perfect.” News flash! Your spouse isn’t perfect. Your spouse might not always see your side or agree with you. Your spouse will disappoint you. If you want a perfect spouse, you will have to wait until they get to heaven.
6). If you must change everything you must love nothing. Accepting your spouse on a heart level will keep you from getting caught up in the “if- onlys.” If only he/she were a better communicator. Learning to resolve conflict can be a way that God refines both of you. As you grow in this area and begin to have victory, you will see what a great team you are together. Oh and did I mention? Probably the two of you will begin to learn about grace as you resolve problems together.
If your marriage is suffering gaping wounds because of you and your spouse’s inability to manage conflict, it is highly advised you seek professional guidance. The conflict in your marriage does not have to take it down. There are new ways to handle and resolve problems so that both parties feel heard and affirmed. Having a marriage where conflict has positive outcomes is a gift we can give each other, our children, and our God who calls us “to be at peace with all men.”