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Dealing with Conflict: Effective Communication

Editorial Staff

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Knowing how to effectively communicate with your partner is important when dealing with conflict. Learning it reduces the chance of divorce and helps in preventing gender violence.

Conflict, although often stressful and upsetting, is a vital part of marriage. How a couple manages conflicting ideas and differences of opinion determines how well the marriage will flourish. Effective communication is important in dealing with conflict for a positive outcome, and learning these techniques reduces the chance of a relationship breakdown and divorce.

Effective Communication Techniques: Listen Properly and Ensure You Are Both Fully Understood

Feeling listened to and understood on both sides is invaluable for effective and positive communication. Allow one another to freely express concerns and desires while the other person listens attentively, without interrupting or defending anything. After each of you has spoken, ensure that you clarify you are both on the same page by asking questions and summarising the main points. You should be able to understand each other on both a verbal and an emotional level.

Between 70-90% of what you communicate is non-verbal; how you speak and react to things being said reflects how you truly feel. When your partner is talking, face them with an open posture and maintain eye contact. Try to avoid fidgeting, shaking your head and crossing your arms as this translates as trying to put the other person down – subsequently becoming negative communication and diminishing any possibility of successfully resolving conflict.

Effective Communication and Dealing with Conflict: Learn to Negotiate

Good negotiation in your marriage makes for successful conflict resolution and strengthens your relationship. Only decisions and behaviours can be negotiated; core values and integrity cannot. Before negotiating, make sure you are clear in your head about what you want to discuss and prepare to be open and honest to your partner.

Begin the negotiating by stating the matter of conflict, before you take it in turns to express your concerns. After you have both been listened to and understood, you can both propose solutions until an agreement is reached. Evaluate the results of your negotiation to guarantee you are both working towards the same resolution.

Effective Communication and Dealing with Conflict: Don’t Bicker

Bickering and arguing over the same issue time and time again achieves nothing. There is no such thing as winning an argument; it only buries the underlying issue and increases resentment in your partner. Do not underestimate the significance of negotiation and calm, positive communication techniques when dealing with conflict in your marriage.

Effective Communication and Dealing with Conflict: Take Responsibility for Your Own Feelings

Not taking responsibility for your own feelings during your married life produces negative responses and ineffective communication. Starting a discussion with “you” instead of “I” is confrontational and will immediately put up defence barriers in your partner, which will make effective communication almost impossible.

When something your partner has done upsets you, address the behaviour and not the person. Directing your hurt towards your partner undermines their character, increasing the likelihood of negative communication and enduring conflict. For example, if they have not done the dishes as they promised, say “I am upset that you did not do the dishes”, as opposed to “You are so lazy and inconsiderate for not doing the dishes”.

Effective Communication and Dealing with Conflict: Be Concise and Focus on the Main Concerns

Hammering your partner with masses of information does not oblige them to see things from your point of view and will not make for effective communication. Nor is it a successful way to deal with conflict in your marriage.

Before approaching your partner, consider the main points you wish to discuss and prioritise your concerns; this will help them to process your thoughts and feelings much easier. Overwhelming them will most likely cause them to prematurely agree with you, only to undermine them later on and cause further conflict.

Practising positive and effective communication techniques in your marriage aids in fortifying your relationship and is extremely beneficial in dealing with conflict. Knowing the techniques can formulate a long-lasting, happy and healthy marriage.

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