Today on More2Life radio, we looked at ways husbands and wives can grow closer not just in spite of conflict. Here are three things happy couples know about managing conflict…gracefully.
- Avoid catastrophizing conflict–couples in happy marriages argue as often as couples in unhappy marriages. The difference between happy and unhappy couples is not how often they argue, but how they manage their conflict.
- Keep Calm in Conflict–The most important thing in conflict is self-regulation. Use the 60-40 rule. Pay 60% attention to how you’re reacting and 40% to what they are saying. If you feel your emotional temperature rising to the point that you are showing outward signs of disgust (eye-rolling, disgusted sighing, refusing to look at them, speaking over each other) get control of yourself or take a break until you are calm. If you can’t have the conversation respectfully, don’t have it at all. Or, if this is a long term problem get help from a trained marriage therapist who can teach you how to have respectful disagreements
- Be Caretakers Through Conflict–Smart couples know that even in conflict, taking care of your partner is job #1. Find little ways to reassure each other, to reassure your spouse that their concerns are important to you, that you are grateful for them working through this with you, and that even though you don’t see eye to eye, you still love each other.
For more tips on staying close through marital conflict, check out When Divorce is Not An Option: How To Heal Your Marriage and Nurture Lasting Love and For Better Forever: A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage. And don’t forget to tune in to More2Life radio each weekday at 10am E/9am C on a Catholic radio station near you or SiriusXM Channel 130.