In a marriage, conflict is inevitable. In these times, it’s easy to resort to toxic behavior that can harm our relationship and our spouse. It’s essential to learn and maintain conflict resolution skills that seek a win/win solution to the tribulation your relationship could be facing. 

Let’s start with getting a L.A.D.D.E.R. 

LOOK at your spouse lovingly. Eye contact is essential and effective for face-to-face communication. 

ADMIT to the truth they are sharing. Their feelings are just as valid as your own. 

DON’T deny their truths. No matter how much it hurts, accept that you both have your own perspectives on the situation. 

DON’T interrupt. It ALWAYS will come off as being dismissive of their feelings. 

EMOTE Appropriately. Take care not to overreact, but honestly share your feelings.

RESPOND. Silence can be just as hurtful as words. If you feel the need to process your feelings before communicating them, communicate that to your partner. 

With  L.A.D.D.E.R in your pocket, you’ll be able to reach new heights in conflict resolution and communication with your spouse. 

Next is learning how to compromise comfortably. Sometimes, couples might not agree on the path forward in the relationship. From who takes the kids to school to whether or not to buy a house, disagreements of all shapes and sizes can create conflict. Simply changing your approach to mutual decision-making can make all the difference. 

First, grab a notebook and draw out two columns underneath a proposed decision. One column will represent the positive outcomes, and the other the negative. Once an exhaustive list has been made of the pros and cons, talk about how much weight each possible outcome could have and rank them as best as possible. Remember that one or two outcomes in a column could carry more weight than an entire list! This exercise helps lead to informed decision-making and can also foster the cooperative energy to make that decision more readily. 

The final step is remembering your vows. You’re in this together! If you are to love your spouse truly, you need to be able to love them when their best doesn’t match up to your best. Acknowledging that a 50/50 approach in a relationship might be a rare occasion helps us maintain reality and foster understanding and compassion. 

These steps are not exhaustive, but they’re an excellent place to start! You and your partner are a team. Through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, you can stand together in the face of marriage tribulation and come out stronger by learning and understanding conflict resolution skills.