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5 Steps for Resolving Conflict in Your Marriage

  Disputes and conflicts are bound to arise but the way we address them can greatly impact the outcomes. Destructive conflict is characterized by negative behaviour, hostile and angry exchanges, avoiding or walking away which may lead to escalation. Learn to engage in constructive resolution for positive outcomes. Discuss your differences early before they get entrenched, before resentment and negative emotions build up.   Talk About It Find a good time to talk. Sit down facing each other and discuss the conflict. Express your feelings. Open up to each other.   Avoid pointing fingers. Avoid hurtful statements. Express strong feelings in a healthy way. Do not verbally attack your spouse. Keep an open mind. Listen well. Focus on the issue at hand. Listen well to understand the other person’s perspective. Take turns to speak. Focus on the problem not the person. Go beyond what they are saying to what is being communicated emotionally. Ask questions to clarify what is being said. Ask non defensive questions to elicit non defensive responses.   Stay Calm Keep your cool. Do not raise your voice, do not jump to conclusions. Avoid hitting below the belt. Respond calmly. State your opinion, express your feelings, concerns and needs calmly. Use a calm tone of voice and positive body language.   Brainstorm for solutions. Work together at getting to the root of the problem. Search for a solution together. Consider each other’s views, find solutions together, come up with a solution that you are both happy with, found workable and acceptable.  Agree on a solution. Learn to compromise. Work with your spouse to carry out the solution.   Learn to forgive. Apologize to your husband or wife. Acknowledge their hurt. Apologize for what you said or did. Try to be understanding and forgiving. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and has faults. Forgive.   If there are issues you cannot resolve by yourselves seek the help of a counsellor or mediator. Mediation is an effective process for resolving conflicts. It empowers parties to maintain control over resolution of the conflict while fostering effective communication and understanding.

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