3 Easy & Effective Tips to Reduce Conflict in Marriage

In celebration of a whole decade of marriage, I’ve decided to share another marriage post this week. I truly believe that any great relationship requires effective communication. Last year, my husband and I went on a marriage cruise (kid-free). Not only was it the first time we’d ever been on a cruise but it was the first time we were away from home for so long to focus solely on our marriage. And, as the new BMWK Marriage Cruise is underway, I wanted to reflect on one of the most powerful sessions we experienced during the cruise.

One of the biggest takeaways shared were tips to reduce conflict in marriage. Although we rarely argue, this session helped us to see things we could be doing differently to resolve conflict the moment it arises. And looking back, these same strategies, fall right in line with having an argument-free marriage.

What we realized is that we needed to commit to taking time out like this once a year to focus solely on our marriage, goals, dreams for our family, and our future. And yes, we talk about these things often; but there was something really powerful about getting away from all of the distractions, and being surrounded with so many other happily married couples who were all there for the same goal: to strengthen and build upon our marriages.

Also related: 6 Ways to Keep Love in Your Marriage Long After You Say “I Do”.

Regardless of what challenges you may have in your marriage, it all comes down to communication. Whether it’s finances, different interests, holding on to “baggage”, etc, when you haven’t learned how to effectively communicate, that’s when small problems escalate into larger ones.

Understanding why you fight and your conflict styles is critical to being able to resolve them quickly and easily. Dr. Johnny & Lezlyn Parker shared with us three different animal conflict styles so we could identify which ones we were.

The Lion: this animal has a “Let’s get ready to rumble!” attitude/mentality. They are generally aggressive.

The Ostrich: This animal has an “I’m outta here!” mentality anytime things get heated. They tend to avoid conflict as much as possible.

The Porcupine: This animal has a “can you hear me now?” mentality. They are approachable – not too aggressive and they don’t run from conflict.

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One thing they shared with us (which hubby and I constantly practice) is to use, regardless of which animal you are, the phrase: same team. So anytime you are in a heated argument or getting ready to “go there”, if either of you call out “same team,” it allows you to refocus on what is really important.

Yelling or fussing at each other is putting you on opposing teams. But if you remind each other that you’re on the same team, you can proceed with a calmer discussion and reduce the feeling of being attacked.

Here are 3 Easy & Effective Tips to Reduce Conflict in Marriage (that were shared during the cruise):

1. Tackle one issue at a time. There may be multiple issues that need to be addressed. But if need be, make sure you schedule enough time when you’re both free from distractions in order to acknowledge each issue. Try to come to some kind of agreement with one before moving on to the next.

2. Stay in the now. It’s so easy to bring up past hurts and pains especially if they remind you of the current situation. But that will only make matters worse. When you practice staying in the “now”, it helps to alleviate the tension.

3. Attack the problem, not the person. This goes back to the “same team” mantra. When you really understand that you’re on the same team it is much easier to figure out a solution to the problem at hand. This also goes back to the idea of “sticking with the original emotion” as Fawn Weaver expresses in her TEDx talk.

What are some tips you have to eliminate or reduce conflict in your marriage or relationships?

**This post was originally written for BlackAndMarriedWithKids.com***

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  • Kita
    September 18, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    My marriage is on it’s last thread but I am trying to hold on. I am blunt and I can be very out there. I don’t hold anything back…my husband on the other hand is shy and quiet and very very sensitive so the two personalities are like oil and water. How we made it to 10 years…I still don’t know. I think I attack him instead of the problem…I will admit that so I have taken steps to try to be more aware of that.
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  • LaShawn
    September 18, 2015 at 7:37 PM

    Great post. My husband and I defiantly need strategies so that we fight fair! I am trying to talk my husband into going on the BMWK marriage cruise next year! We haven’t been on a solo vacation without our son since he was born 6 years ago! it’s time!
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  • Stacie
    September 18, 2015 at 10:06 PM

    This is good. I’m definitely a Lion and my hubbs is a Ostrich but I love the same team reminder. I’ll have to use that one. 😉
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  • Adanna
    September 18, 2015 at 10:44 PM

    This is awesome advice Christine. Congratulations on 10 year anniversary. We just hit 8 years and I’m starting to realize that I’m just learning a whole lot especially when it comes to parenting and our different views on many things. I love “attack the problem not the person” I’m going to always keep that in mind moving forward.
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  • LaShon Renee
    September 19, 2015 at 7:43 PM

    The marriage cruise sounds great. What better way to work on your marriage than on a fun, luxury cruise.
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  • Holly
    September 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    These are very good tips. I have to work on these myself. We shall see lol
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  • GinaB @ Mirror Watching
    September 20, 2015 at 3:24 PM

    I believe you can be passionate about your perspective, but not to the point of being out of control. No one can hear when they are offended.
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  • Patranila
    September 20, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    Good tactics for fair fighting no matter the relationship. People so often argue about everything all at once.
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  • MJ
    September 20, 2015 at 8:07 PM

    I am loving all the marriage posts I’ve been seeing lately. Definitely great to read how other couples do it and stick to it for the long haul. I’m sharing this with my Hubs.

  • Arika
    September 20, 2015 at 8:15 PM

    Great tips! They are relevant for any relationship!
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  • Nicole (Nicole's Lifestyle Lounge)
    September 20, 2015 at 8:21 PM

    I need to try to make that marriage cruise next year. Great tips.
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  • Kara
    September 20, 2015 at 8:58 PM

    Congrats on your 10 yrs! Communication is definitely key in any relationship, loved your tips on how to tackle marriage issues.
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  • Tyra
    September 20, 2015 at 10:22 PM

    Great tips and perspective. It is definitely important to attack the problem and not the person.
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  • JoAnna
    September 21, 2015 at 11:24 AM

    Congrats on 10 years. These are great tips for any long term relationship. That cruise sounds fun.
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