Offences, misunderstandings and other forms of conflict are bound to occur in marital relationships in the process of time just as it is in all human institutions due to individual differences. However, management of such conflicts is crucial to the longevity and success of a marital union.
Communication is a vital element in conflict resolution and the maintenance of a peacefully coexistence. These are some guidelines to foster good communication in times of conflict:
1. Each partner must be willing to admit his/her contribution to the problem at hand. Be responsible for your own emotions, words, actions and reactions. Don’t blame them on the other person. Self introspection, with recognition of mistakes done by each party, allows for dispassionate resolution of a conflict. [Proverbs 28:13; James 5:16]
2. The couple should demonstrate willingness to change or allow some compromise. This enhances good communication as each partner recognizes the other person is open for settlement. Therefore, solid grounds for opposing views on issues are not established leading to easy settlement of a conflict. [Galatians 6:2; 1 Peter 3:8]
3. Avoid the use of emotionally charged words. Words like these should not be use in times of conflict: “You don’t really love me.”; “You always do that and that”; “You never do anything right.”; “I don’t care.”; “I regret marrying you.” Emotional charged words fight against an atmosphere of sobriety needed to settle issues. [Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 4:29; 1 Peter 3:9-10]
4. Refrain from having reruns of old arguments. Issues that have been addressed and perfectly settled earlier should not be raised to justify oneself or condemn a spouse. Deal in the present and not in the past. Don’t refer to the past unless it will help you to solve a present problem. Past issues must be laid to rest. [Ephesians 4:26; Philippians 3:13b]
5. Remain focused and deal with one problem at a time. Solve one problem and then move on to the next. This makes room for complete resolution of conflicting issues. Issues are entirely dealt with, with no leftovers for the future. [James 1:8; Matthew 6:22]
6. Learn to communicate in non-verbal ways. Effective non-verbal communication is essential, especially, when channels for verbal communication are unavailable or seems blocked. Couples must learn to communicate effectively non-verbally once they commit themselves to a lifelong relationship. [Ruth 3:1-8; Psalm 32:8]