In my years as an attorney, I was measured by how effectively I could win arguments and resolve conflicts. I had been taught how to resolve an argument—by winning it. I had to understand legal language and maneuvers that could get complicated. The more complicated the situation, the more valuable my training in law became.
But in marriage, I’ve learned that conflict resolution doesn’t need to be complicated. The harder I try to make it, the harder it becomes to solve. Though it takes years to practice, here are 5 easy ways to resolve an argument with your spouse.
Offering an apology is a simple start, though it’s more than just saying “I’m sorry.” It’s being humble enough to request forgiveness from another person. And don’t forget that you may need to apologize even if you are “right.” Sometimes we need to apologize for how we argue as much or more than for what we say when we argue.
2. Own your part.
It’s important in any disagreement to stop thinking just about what the other person has done wrong and to consider honestly what you have done to contribute to the conflict. Acknowledging what you have done wrong without being defensive is a big part of how to resolve an argument with your spouse.
Acknowledging what you have done wrong without being defensive is a big part of how to resolve an argument with your spouse.
3. Ask clarifying questions.
Misunderstandings can be like gasoline on a fire in an argument. Making assumptions about what the other person is thinking or about his or her motives can lead to greater misunderstandings. Ask questions that assume the best of your spouse and show you are open to understanding him or her.
4. Listen carefully.
It’s great to ask questions, but not if as your husband or wife gives an answer, you’re just waiting for your him or her to stop talking so you can jump in with your next point. Learn to be an intentional listener. who is slow to jump in and who helps defuse a tense situation.
5. Affirm your love.
At the end of the day, your love is a critical foundation. Love alone will not fix the fights, but love is key, and you have to keep reminding each other that it’s there. Don’t ignore it. Don’t keep it a secret, even during the argument. Sometimes you might even have to say something like, “I love you, but I’m having trouble liking you right now.”
What have you learned about how to resolve an argument in your marriage? Share in a comment.