Many marriages can suffer because of the inability to resolve conflict in a healthy, calm manner. In the many years I have worked with couples one of the major components of conflict is not validating what your spouse says. For instance, a person may come home from work and share how their day was very frustrating and everything that could go wrong did that day. The person just wants to come in and vent and be validated that their day was awful. However, their spouse starts providing solutions on how it can be better tomorrow. In those instances that a person just wants to share their terrible day it would be beneficial to say “I hate that you had such an awful day, I am here to listen”. That statement is two-fold it validates the persons experience and it offers support without trying to provide a solution.
Another component that can cause conflict in a marriage is not understanding or being clear on what your spouse is trying to communicate. An easy solution for clarifying what a person is communicating is to say, “ This is what I am hearing you say”, or “ I am hearing you say this and you seem upset”. This allows the person to clarify if that is not what they were meaning to say and be mindful of their tone.
One final way to resolve conflict is to create a safe word. The word can be anything you and your spouse agree upon. The purpose of a safe word is to use it if you feel yourself getting upset. This provides an opportunity for each person to calm down before talking about the difficult topic. One important tip is to create a time limit to talk again about the topic.