Marriage conflict is a normal part of married life. When two people start life together by the bond of marriage, conflict is bound to happen.
Each person has had different life experience, and undoubtedly, has different expectations of marriage and from his/her spouse. Therefore, each one is going to react differently to life’s challenges.
Marital conflicts are not bad in themselves. It is our response to the conflicts that can be either helpful or harmful. Conflict can range from a minor disagreement over what to have for dinner tonight to the extreme of abuse.
Conflicts over monetary matters, in-laws/parents, time given to each other, domination/control of one partner, insensitivity toward the spouses feelings, unilateral decisions being made, conflict over interests, children and individual lifestyles are common.
Many marital conflicts are caused by lack of good communication. The problem of “not listening” becomes extremely evident, if you raise an unpleasant topic, ask for something or criticise a person. The accused partner may feel very uncomfortable and tries to prepare a defense or some way to get rid of the unpleasant talk.
Conflict is a reality in all marriages. How you deal with that conflict is the ultimate test of your ability to communicate as a couple.
Ignoring a conflict would never be a wise option as what might seem trivial at the surface, certainly would have some unattended underlying issue. Marital conflict stems out of unmet need, want and desire. When one person needs or wants something badly enough, and the other person is unwilling or unable to meet that need, resentment grows.
The first step in resolving any marital conflict is to understand what the conflict is all about. Once you have taken that step, without being defensive during your investigation, the solutions become much more apparent.
Some measures that can be taken to resolve conflicts or minimise conflicts in a marriage are highlighted below:
* Be kind, gentle and loving to each other
* Create a non-threatening environment of understanding
* Providing more empathy than sympathy
* Avoid cutting remarks that could start the “insult cycle”
* Try to keep your emotions under control
* Be willing to forgive
* Take joint decisions: Share your goals with each other
* Couples must approach each other with kindness and concern
* Be careful of your words: If you are angry, wait until you calm down before continuing the conversation
* Show appreciation for what your spouse does
* Communicate: It is better to deal with problems early and honestly than to let them pile up until an explosion occurs
* Do not drag the past
* Admit your mistakes
Marriage is a personal union of individuals. Good marital relationship requires patience, kindness, humility, sacrifice, empathy, love, understanding, forgiveness, and hard work. Following these principles should help any marriage to improve.
The essence of them all can be summed up in one sentence: Always treat your spouse the way you would like to be treated. If you follow this rule, your marriage will have a much greater chance for success. If you discard this rule, failure is just around the corner.
The writer is a Consultant at Prottoy Medical Clinic Ltd., Baridhara, Dhaka. E-mail: [email protected]
Source: The Daily Star, December 20, 2008