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Want to save your marriage? Try this...

It’s OK to have conflict and arguments in relationships. People are different, and their desires and needs will inevitably clash. Resolving disagreements in a healthy way creates understanding and brings couples closer together. If the objective of these arguments is betterment of the relationship then this is a positive conflict. Knowing when, where, and how you approach an argument is important for being able to solve it. It’s helpful to draw boundaries of the arguments in advance. I have given a few strategies below, which may help you address the issues in your relationship. If after using all these strategies things doesn’t work, then please visit a locally available psychologist.

  • Be comfortable with different opinions and values of your partner. Be able to “agree to disagree.” You don’t have to agree on everything. Try to accept irresolvable differences that don’t violate your values.

  • Don't compromise on the romance in your relationship. Make sure you do something every day to make your partner feel important.

  • Work through things as they come up. Don’t stockpile resentments; otherwise, each postponement becomes a block to the next communication. So, make sure you do not sleep with an issue in your mind. Communicate it before you sleep.

  • Remember to maintain goodwill by separating the person you care about from the behavior. Assume he or she is doing their best and isn’t hurting you intentionally.

  • Take responsibility for your behavior, needs, and feelings. Use “I” statements to share your feelings and thoughts about yourself. This doesn’t include “I feel you’re inconsiderate.” Instead, say “I feel unimportant to you.”

  • Examine what unmet needs are making you angry. With I statements, be direct and honest about your feelings and needs in the relationship. Communicate the positive consequences of compliance.

  • Listen with curiosity and a desire to understand your partner, and to see the world through his or her eyes. When you don’t understand, ask for clarification. Remember that your partner is telling you his or her experience. It reveals the truth about them, not you. You’re free to disagree, but first see where the person is coming from.

  • Use a “we” approach. “We have a problem,” not “My problem with you is . . .”

  • Rather than demand your way, brainstorm solutions. Request your partner’s input, especially when it comes to changing his or her behavior.

  • Take a time-out if you start to get angry. This allows you to calm down and stop reacting. Reassure your partner that you’ll resume.

  • Use breaks to take responsibility for your part, think about solutions, and to self-soothe any hurt feelings.

  • Communicate your fears and guilt in the relationship.

  • Don’t have controversial discussions when you’re tired or the bedroom, which should kept a safe place.

  • Don’t make accusations or use the words, “always” or “never.”

  • Don’t bring in allies – other people’s opinions – or make comparisons to others.

  • Don’t switch topics, or retaliate with, “but you did . . .”

  • Don’t judge, blame, belittle, or be sarcastic or dismissive in words or facial expressions, such as rolling your eyes or smirking.

  • Don’t expect your partner to read your mind.

  • Don’t analyze your partner or impute motives or feelings to him or her.

  • Don’t interrupt or monopolize the conversation.

  • Don’t react or defend yourself. Instead communicate your point of view.

  • Don’t bring up the past – anything more than a few days old.

  • Don’t rolodex grievances. Stick to the current one. You don’t need more “evidence” that you’re right and your partner is wrong.

  • Don’t compromise your bottom lines in the relationship, if they’re non-negotiable. It will lead to more conflict later.

Effective problem-solving takes time and practice. It first requires learning assertiveness. Above all this use a ground rule ‘Person is more important or the issue’, and till the time person is more important there is no harm in letting go the issue.

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