THINK ABOUT THE LAST DISAGREEMENT YOU AND YOUR FIANCÉ HAD.
Are you proud of the way you handled it? Conflict is an unavoidable part of all relationships, especially marriage and it is important to approach each disagreement as a team with an arsenal of tools and resources so that you both win. Come at disagreements the same way you would a battle – well prepared and with a plan. And the best time to learn is when you’re engaged!
YOU CAN USE THESE 6 TOOLS TO ADDRESS DISAGREEMENT TOGETHER:
1. Zip It
When your partner opens up to you, it is relationally life-or-death important that he/she feels heard before you respond. So, don’t interrupt and allow your partner ample time to help you understand their side.
Before you respond, clarify that you understand what your partner is trying to say by using the phrase, “So, what I hear you saying is ________”, or “Help me better understand _______”. Give them the opportunity to clarify first just in case you heard something differently than they meant.
Learn not to minimize your partner’s pain by using phrases like, “That’s not true! I/you always/never ______”.Instead, whether you agree with their feelings or not, take the time to validate your partner by using the phrase, “I did not realize you felt so ______ about ______. That must have been hard / painful / difficult for you”.
4. “I feel ____ when ____ because _____.”
It is crucial that you do not place blame on your partner and that you own your feelings and point of view. (i.e. “I felt hurt when you were late for dinner because it is important to me that you are on time”.)
5. Never raise your voice
It is okay to be passionate, but it is not ever okay to yell at your partner. Yelling escalates conflict quickly and does more harm than good.
6. Take a time out
If you feel yourself getting too heated, it is okay to say, “Honey, I love you and I want to resolve this matter, but I need 30 minutes to calm down. Can we pick this back up again in a half-hour?” If your partner asks for a time-out, be understanding and give it to them.
To learn more about conflict and repairing your relationship after a fight, be sure to check out our online courage for engaged couples called Happily Ever After.
Written by Anna Collins
Anna Collins lives in sunny Southern California with her husband and two children. She is passionate about her marriage, staying at home with her kids, writing, coffee, good conversation, and game night. Her life dream is to someday write a book and see it published.