Conflict in marriage is inevitable. However, how you and your spouse deal with conflict are what truly matters. If you want to have a marriage that stands the test of time, one of the major skills you must learn is conflict management and resolution. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Get On Neutral Ground

Perhaps one of the most important things you need to do is set ground rules for how the conflict will be resolved. To set the stage for an amicable solution, you should consider these strategies:

  1. Get on neutral ground. For example, if the conflict took place at home, you may want to use a restaurant or a park for your conflict resolution venue. There is something psychologically refreshing about getting on neutral ground and away from where the conflict took place.
  2. Agree to be civil. That means there should be no name calling or belittling of the other person. There should also be no attempts at manipulation.
  3. Set a time limit, so that you can be concise about what you discuss. Getting to the point instead of rambling will get the conflict resolved faster.

Pick One Specific Problem

If there is more than one problem, it is best to solve one at a time. Decide on the most pressing issue and then talk about the problem from your perspective and your spouse's perspective.  Your next goal should be to discuss each other's fears and needs. Once you have identified your fears and needs, then you can decide how you to alleviate these fears and satisfy each other's needs          

Finding Solutions                                                                                                                                                           

The purpose of any discussion about conflict should be to find an amicable solution to the problem. Always remember to be tough on the problem and not the person. Here are some helpful things you should bear in mind when trying to resolve problems:

  1. Identify who or what may prevent the amicable solution of the problem.
  2. Find the lesson that will be learned and embrace the opportunity for growth.
  3. Identify how your marriage will be strengthened by the resolution of this conflict.

To make your marriage succeed you must be willing to find the most amicable solution to any conflicts that arise. However, conflict resolution is a skill that must be learned. Start using the tips discussed above to help turn conflict into something that fosters growth and positive development in your marriage.

For more information, contact your local marriage and family therapist.