Conflict Resolution

Marriage is a Balancing Act

Alex Ellorde asked:

“Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long , intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.” —- Amy Bloom

Norman and Samantha are celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary. The past nine years cannot be called married bliss even if they were madly in love with each other. Like any other couples, they have had their share of conflicts and trials. But Norman and Samantha’s main problem is that they are extreme opposites. Samantha likes the finer things in life while Norman is like the cowboy who likes to get his hands dirty and enjoys the simple pleasure of the outdoors and sports. There are things that get into each other’s nerves and they both end up in a shouting match. This pattern of behavior had resulted in stress and anxiety. Many have told them to work on their communication skills if they want their marriage to remain intact.

Like Norman and Samantha, thousands of couples struggle with communication. The way we communicate plays a big part in marriage. It defines how we relate to our spouses and to our children. Poor communication can actually lead a marriage to utter failure.

Long-lasting marriages are usually characterized by open, encouraging, and positive communication between the man and woman. Learning how to properly identify issues that must be resolved is also a communication skill that no married person can afford not to have.

There are a number of ways to communicate with your spouse. Why not improve on your commuincation style by reading the following methods or types of communication:

Types of Communication:

· The Discussion Type- Having a discussion gives you time to see each other’s point of view a lot better. You must learn how to talk and listen attentively, clarify issues, and acknowledge each other’s thoughts and feelings.

· The Confrontational Type – As the worst type of communication, if it can be called communication at all, is confrontational. This usually involves shouting matches in the heat of an argument.

· The Non-Confrontational – You simply do nothing, ignore your misunderstandings, and prefer to be silent about an issue in your marriange. It is a type of “non-communication” that does not lead to the resolution of a problem.

Types of Conflict Resolution

Couples should also try to learn and practice conflict resolution techniques. Marriage cannot survive if problems are not discussed and resolved completely. It is important for couples to know about the ways people approach a conflict. These approaches are as follows:

1. The Avoidant Type – This type avoids all hot issues or topics and actually cause a problem to get worse. Couples who avoid conflict usually value each other’s private space and tend to live in a placid manner without the intense passion. However, the way they avoid discussing issues can sometimes complicate their problems.

2. The Validating Type – This entails affirming one another’s feelings, considering all points of view, and coming to an amicable settlement. Couples who maintain this type of communication see each other as friends and value the collaborative nature of their relationship rather than their selfish aspirations.

3. The Volatile Type- When couples don’t listen to each other’s point of view but try to convince each other that he or she is right have the perfect ingredient for divorce or separation. When couples see each other as equals and respect each other’s individuality and independence, they are able to discuss constructively without resorting to heated arguments and “volatile” actions.

Tips for a Successful Partnership

It is important for couples to know that the success of their marriage depends a lot on good communication and the ability to talk constructively as partners. These tips are simple yet can do a lot to make a marriage last:

· Being affectionate

· Showing your concern or how much you care

· Being thoughtful by giving gifts even when there is no occasion

· Being appreciative

· Having a healthy sense of humor

· Sharing each other’s joy

To keep marriage strong, couples must share their interests and explore new things together. They must also learn to accept each other’s weaknesses and perspectives even if they do not agree. Indeed, marriage is a matter of give-and-take. Whether it’s having an argument or making a marriage work, it does take “ two to tango.”


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