Have you ever wondered what you can do to avoid conflict in your marriage? Have you ever wondered what you can do to be closer to your spouse? These 6 effective ways to avoid conflict in your marriage will also help you feel closer to each other.
I’ve never met a couple that agrees in everything, and I’m sure you’ve never met one either because such a thing does not exist.
But the more we can avoid conflict and live in peace with our spouse, the better. Avoiding conflict will make us happier, and our relationship healthier.
My husband and I have come a long way. At the beginning of our relationship, we would have conflicts all the time.
There was a huge gap in our communication, we had a hard time understanding each other’s feelings, we didn’t know each other’s expectations, we didn’t listen to each other, we didn’t pray, and we also didn’t give grace to one another.
The truth is, just passion isn’t gonna cut it. A lot more than that is needed. True love is needed in marriage. A love that is like the one described in the Bible. A love that can be seen through action.
Over the years, my husband and I have learned together to be more flexible, more intentional, and to put ourselves in each other’s shoes every now and then. We have learned to put each other’s needs before our own. The Lord has been transforming us and shaping our relationship in amazing ways, after all, He’s our creator and knows every little detail about us.
But please, don’t think for a second that I think our relationship is perfect. Oh, it’s not. We still have a long way to go and a whole lot to grow.
Before writing this post, I sat down with him and asked what were some essential things that we had learned over the years, that when we practice, help us avoid conflict in our marriage.
Let’s look at the 6 ways that can help us avoid conflict in our marriage.
6 Effective Ways to Avoid Conflict in Your Marriage
Just because you don’t agree in a certain matter, it doesn’t mean that this disagreement has to become a conflict. If you strive to exercise these habits every day, you will see results. If you can get your spouse to be on board and make an effort as well, even better. But it all starts with you.
The best way to get someone to do something is doing it first. The goal is not to change your spouse, but to implement these habits in your own heart. Once you have changed your heart and actions to love them fully, they will surely reach your spouse and speak to their heart.
#1. Communicate well
Yes, communication. It sounds simple and cliché, but it’s of utmost importance in marriage. Some people need to be communicated of many things and they also want details. Other people just don’t feel the need to know every single detail of everything. First, you have to find out how your spouse feels about communication.
When my husband and I got married, I had a very hard time with this. He is the type that needs to know everything and all the details. And I was the type who never enjoyed reporting what I do to anybody. I just did things and expected him to be fine with them. He’s also the type of person who plans ahead and likes to follow the plan. I, on the other hand, am completely free-spirited.
All I could think is why in the world do I now have to report every decision to him? And I’m sure all he could think was how come she makes decisions that affect my life and my routine, without even saying a word to me?
Our expectations about communicating with each other were completely different. One day though, something clicked, and I realized I wasn’t living life on my own anymore. We were now two, and I needed to consider his expectations and his feelings. Once I started understanding his expectations about communication and started meeting them, we started having a lot less conflict.
He didn’t want to control me or tell me what to do. He just wanted to be communicated so we could be on the same page.
There’s no way for us to guess what the other person is feeling or thinking. The only true way to know is communicating! Once you start practicing this one, according to your spouse’s expectations, conflicts will become less of a reality in your marriage.
#2. Be Empathetic
If your husband tells you his shoes have a hole in the soles and that it hurts when he walks, you will never know how bad it hurts until you put your own feet in his shoes and try walking on them. Only then, you’ll be able to tell what it feels like to feel his pain.
The same little rule applies to almost everything else in life. We’ll never understand what our spouse is feeling if we don’t try to imagine ourselves in their position.
Imagining ourselves in their dilemma will allow us to be sensitive to their feelings and to forgive easier. It will allow ourselves to put their needs before ours because we’ll be able to understand what they’re going through.
#3. Set goals and expectations together
Remember when I talked about my husband having different expectations about communication than I did? Well, because we are not the same person as our spouses, we will most likely have different expectations about everything in life.
Sit down and talk to your husband about his and your expectations every time you realize that you have different ones. Or even before that.
For example, in our home my husband expects me to do the cooking because I work from home and he works in an office out of the house so he isn’t home to do so. Therefore, we agreed that I would be expected to cook food for our family. Which doesn’t mean that he never cooks. When he’s home, he loves cooking for our family, but the daily expectation is as mentioned above.
The same way, I expect my husband to move the garbage outside because he’s strong and has a better memory than I do (so he’s more likely to remember the day the garbage truck will come. True story). Which, again, doesn’t mean that I will never do it. It just means that these are our expectations for the daily. But if something changes, we’ll be more than happy to do differently.
Having small expectations like that figured out avoid daily conflicts and struggles that don’t have to be happening in the first place. By doing this, you and your spouse are getting ahead of these little things that could get in the way of your peace.
The same thing goes for big goals. Our dream and goal that we’re currently working together to achieve, is buying our house. Since we both know that, we both try to save as much money as we can, we both try to make as much money as we can… And we both try to remind each other of the main goal so we don’t get distracted by other expenses that could get in the way of our big dream.
If I had that goal in mind but he didn’t, we would be walking in two completely different directions and getting into avoidable fights all the time.
Setting goals and expectations together, allows both of you to be on the same page.
#4. Be open, listen
Listening is a virtue. Every time, I’m intentional about listening to my husband, I’m able to see another perspective. I’m able to see much more than my own vision allows me to. His words open my eyes to something I couldn’t see before.
The Bible says:
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
James 1:19 NLT
A lot of times, we think that we know exactly what our spouse is going to say, but they often have amazing insights that we would’ve never known, had we been closed to their words. Don’t just hear them. Listen to them. Listen to their words and to the feelings behind them. Be open to a second perspective and opinion.
You’re not the only one who has good ideas, you’re not the only one who always knows how to solve a problem, you’re not the only one who knows what the kids need best. Be humble, and learn to work together with your spouse, listening to their ideas, opinions, and everything else.
There’s power in listening to your spouse. There’s power in truly listening and not always being so stubborn. There’s enough power in listening to your spouse, to avoid conflict.
Pray for your spouse and yourself. Ask God to refine your hearts, to polish your actions, to allow you to act on love and not on pride.
Ask God to help you two listen better, plan together, communicate well and within each other’s expectations. Ask God for you to open your eyes so you can see more than just what you want to see. Ask God for you to be empathetic to your spouse and always try to put yourself in their shoes so you can understand their perspective.
You can use your own words and talk to God freely, being honest about your feelings. But if you need some help, here’s what this prayer could look like:
“Dear Lord, help me be humble and not let pride take over me, because pride leads to conflict. Help me be quick to listen and slow to anger. God, help me act on love towards my spouse and always be considerate of their feelings. Help me put their needs before my own. Lord, I know I can’t do all of this without you, so please help me. In Jesus’ name. I love you and praise your name. Amen”
There are two short sentences I pulled from two different verses and included in this prayer:
- Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise. Proverbs 13:10
- Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19
#6. Give grace to your spouse
Nothing hurts me more than when I make my husband mad. I can’t take it. It always feels like someone came and took my heart from my chest with their hands. It’s painful. Every time I make him mad, I ask for his forgiveness and I expect grace.
I expect him to understand my perspective and realize that the last thing I intended to do was to hurt him. It’s easy to expect grace when we’re the ones who have made a mistake.
But what about when they’re the ones who made the mistake? Can we forgive easily? Can we offer the same grace that we expect to be given?
How about every time they make a mistake, we try to be empathetic and put ourselves in their shoes? How about we try to understand where they’re coming from and the pain they’re feeling for realizing they made a mistake? I know, I know… You must be thinking it’s a lot easier said than done. And it is. This is exactly why we need God. We just can’t do it on our own. But He can. So if you need, go back to the prayer part of this post and ask God to help you give to your spouse the same abundant grace that you expect to receive from them.
Putting those tips to use so you can start avoiding conflict in your marriage
I know these tips aren’t the easiest ones to put into practice. Sometimes I have a hard time acting on them myself. And so does my husband. But one thing that him an I can agree on is that when we both make an effort and follow through, we avoid many conflicts that we could have gotten into hadn’t we taken our own advice.
How about you try to start practicing them from now on? Remember to communicate well, taking your spouse’s expectations into consideration. Be empathetic, set goals and expectations together, listen to them, pray, and finally, give grace to your spouse in the same proportion that you’d like to receive.
I hope that your conflicts start fading away from your marriage as you strive to act on these 6 effective tips. If you like these tips, I think you will love our FREE 7-Day Devotional Challenge to an Amazing Family Life.
Now, I’d love to know what is something that you have noticed that helps avoid conflict in your marriage. What would you list as the seventh tip on this post? Please, share it below in the comment section!