Solving marital conflict
When facing conflict with your spouse it is important to find a resolution that strengthens your marriage.
Dr. Todd Mulliken offers four strategies that can help couples approach and handle a disagreement.
Speak without offending. This means sharing your opinion, or position without shutting down the other person. Todd shares an example of this played out,
“Here’s my thoughts about something; how do you see it?’”
Listen without defending. We need to follow speaking with truly listening to what your spouse has to share.
Agree to disagree. You will not always agree on everything. Often finding a compromise, or middle group, resolves conflict in a way that puts the relationship above the issue.
“My wife and I have been married for 28 years and we have three adult daughters that, you know, we didn’t always agree on parenting. We still don’t always agree, but we’re for each other, we love each other, and God is for us.”
Own your own part.
Following a conflict, it is important to come back together. This involved humility and ownership of the you mistakes made in the heat of the moment.
“Fight or flight enters into those conflicts, and usually we have overreaction or we have silence. The fighter usually doesn’t fight fair, and the flighter usually shuts down, so we have to be able to come back, and have mercy, and bring forgiveness, and own our own part.”
Todd also reminds us that we, as couples, are not defined by our conflicts. Our relationship is so much more than whatever struggle we may have, and as long as we’re in the process of working on the problem, then we also need to look at all of the good in our relationship and keep that in mind.
“It doesn’t make it perfect, but it makes us be people of resolution and restoration so that couples aren’t defined by their conflicts, but they can learn from their conflicts.”