I met up with a group of girlfriends over dinner last week and we discussed about how we handled conflicts with our spouses. It was a very interesting conversation as we had different ways of approaching it.
Reflecting on my three years of marriage, now with a baby, Phillip and I definitely had times which we argued over small matters and big issues. I always knew that communication would be the key to a successful marriage, and forgiveness should be the first thing that comes to my mind when I get offended.
However it is always easier said than done. There are so many times which I really wanted to walk out of the marriage, or wondered if I married the right person.
With my past relationship experiences, I had learnt that instead of putting the blame on the other person, I should reflect if there was anything for me to work on to become better.
There were also some tips and tricks which I picked up these years about tackling conflicts in a way which would not affect my marriage or hurt my husband. The tactics also added humour to our marriage and resolved conflicts easily.
Whatever he says, if I feel discouraged, I will tell him in a humorous manner. Often a times when we are upset or discouraged because our spouse had knowingly or unknowingly made a comment that hurt us, we dive straight into the heart of the issue and try to give them a piece of our minds.
However what is interesting is when I change a way of telling him I am upset, he actually responded positively to it. For example, I would tell him “Wow, your comment was so encouraging, I really needed to hear that.” It was mentioned with laughter from both sides, but I knew the point was made.
As a married couple, we tend to do separate things at home. We returned home tired from work and just wanted to be alone. We usually try to chat more in the car on the way home or during dinner. However we all agree that just some conversations are not enough.
As a wife
As a wife, I still love the idea that my husband would ask me out for dates, hence I did not initiate too many dates for us. I would say “Oh we have not spent enough time, I feel like we don’t know each other anymore, are you my flatmate?” Funny as it sounds, instead of getting all upset about not spending enough time with each other. It often helps to bring a point across in a humorous manner so both parties can make some effort.
It is also very normal to argue with our spouses. There is nothing embarrassing about that. I had to learn to control my temper and my sharp tongue when we argued. What works for me is to remain silent and reflect on our argument before speaking.
After reflection, I would either realise there is something I need to work on as well, or there is really an issue which I feel that my husband needs to change. One of the other better methods is to sleep on it – if I did not feel that I need to address the issue after waking up, it is not an important issue at all. But if I still feel upset after I wake up, then we will definitely talk about it as a couple.
When two individuals come together, we bring in our own personalities and perspectives. It creates more fun and joy when we have different perspectives. The various perspectives mould us into a better couple, and also helps us understand God’s wonderful creation and everyone’s uniqueness. Arguments are inevitable, but as long as we remember that “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
As a spouse, it is also important to hold Ephesians chapter 4 verse 32 close to our hearts, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Marriage is a great journey for a couple to learn and become better. It might not be easy, but definitely rewarding. Hopefully this simple entry has helped someone today to resolve very common conflicts within a marriage.