The Best Way to Handle Conflict? Be Best Friends with Your Spouse

The Best Way to Handle Conflict? Be Best Friends with Your Spouse August 20, 2018

Matt and Jessie never used to fight, but there have been a lot of arguments, or almost-arguments, the last few months. Matt is on the verge of losing his job due to a restructuring at his company, and they have three kids under the age of five. So he’s tense and on edge all the time, and little irritations tend to blow up into arguments. Jessie can’t stand the kids being around that. And she hates conflict in general, so she often takes the kids and goes to the mall or the park just to avoid the tension. Matt thinks she’s running away from him and the issues they need to deal with, but from her perspective she’s just trying to keep the peace. She doesn’t really know what to say to him anymore, and she’s wondering how she can get him to stop picking fights so their relationship can get back to the way it used to be.

Are you like Jessie—wanting to head for the hills whenever times get tough and tensions run high? Would you prefer to escape the discomfort of conflict rather than dealing with it head-on? I hear you, I really do. But if avoiding conflict at any cost is your default, I think it’s possible that you’re mistaking conflict avoidance for peace. If, when voices are raised or things get tense, you run the other way (literally or figuratively)—that isn’t peace. It’s more like a one-sided effort to avoid the issues that need to be discussed, and it cuts your husband out of the process. Perhaps—like Matt—your husband needs to work on how he handles stress, but I would bet that he really wants to work through your conflicts together. And it can be damaging to your marriage if you don’t let that process happen.

So how should you cope with conflict with your spouse?

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