Having realistic expectations of marriage and our partners helps us handle challenges with a level head. Forgiving our spouse for imperfections just as we want them to forgive us for ours. We must have an unrelenting resolve to work through any type of argument with our partners.

Now that you know what doesn’t work, here are strategies that do work from The Romance Factor, written by accomplished marriage counselor Dr. Alan Loy McGinnis.

Work these strategies into your everyday patterns of thought and behavior to resolve conflicts with your spouse:

 

  1. Stay cool and avoid panic when your mate temporarily loses their head. They may seem to have contradictory views and emotions. Don’t we all? Some degree of tolerance is crucial for a marriage to be successful. The apostle Paul said, “Love is patient.”

  2. Recognize that anger is a normal emotion. Repressed anger can lead to extramarital affairs, diminished sex drive and many other inexplicable and unpleasant outcomes. Seek methods to diffuse your anger in positive ways, like exercising or meditating.
     

  3. Assume the best of your partner. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt unless you can concretely prove guilt. Avoid letting suspicions about malicious motives spoil your relationship.

  4. Check to see whether your mate is hurt about something if they snarl at you. It may not be because of ill will towards you. They may be reacting negatively because they’re afraid of getting hurt. It’s easy to confuse hurt feelings with anger. “Look for the injured paw before snarling back,” suggests McGinnis.

  5. Remember that you’re not always responsible for their unhappiness. If your partner seems unhappy, don’t jump to conclusions about trouble in your marriage. Find out what’s making them unhappy. It may not be you. Seek solutions together.
     

  6. Be willing to compromise. Drop the habit of defending your turf regardless of the situation. As Oren Arnold says, “In the all-important world of family relations, there are other words almost as powerful as the famous “I love you.” They are “Maybe you’re right.”

  7. Don’t have a baby just to solve your marital challenges. Many people mistakenly believe that the arrival of children solves everything, but research shows that the added stress can exacerbate existing challenges.

  8. Don’t mention divorce unless you intend to go through with it. All too often couples use the term “divorce” as a threat, whereas most of the time they’re trying to convey their seriousness. So, just be simple and explain why it’s important to you to resolve the conflict. Otherwise, you might find your mate takes it to heart and stops trying.