Excluding adoption and arranged marriages, marriage is a unique relationship in the sense that a person chooses their family member. In other familial relationship such as a parent, sibling, etc. you are stuck with whomever God gave you. Although a marriage partner is selected, there will inevitably be disagreements/”fights” at some point.
A couple can try to prevent frequent arguments by practicing positive communication skills on a regular basis. Positive communication skills will plant the seeds for a healthy marriage with a strong foundation.
The first positive communication pointer is to give your spouse positive reinforcement whenever possible i.e. “Wow, you remembered that I needed X that is so thoughtful of you”. Secondly, be emotionally supportive and a good listener. Thirdly, make your spouse feel loved and important. Make sure to hug and kiss when able. Pay attention to one another when you see each other at the end of the day. Say hello to your spouse before you check your e-mail or make a phone call. Lastly, show eye contact, positive body language and patience i.e. try to avoid eye rolling and walking away or other distractions when your spouse is speaking
Even though a couple may practice these positive communication skills in mind, along with some other skills that they have acquired, there will be times when arguments will arise. Arguing is a normal part of any relationship. Arguments can be caused by any combination of internal or external pressures and can include one spouse having a hard emotional day, financial pressures, car problems, and more. During disagreements, there are some key pointers that a couple should have in mind so that they can argue will skill and eliminate the possibility of an escalating argument.
Firstly, completely avoid name calling or verbally abuse, slamming doors or acting in other aggressive ways or physically touching or assaulting your spouse. (Some partners may not realize that this is verbally abusive since there more tolerance in this area). Secondly, try not to throw in the kitchen sink when pointing out a flaw. For example if a spouse forgets to pick something up from the supermarkets do not say “You always forget thing!” What they will hear is “You are such an idiot!”. Thirdly, keep in mind that every personality trait has its attributes and is disadvantages. For example a Type A personality may be unforgiving when something does not go his/her way, but Type A will also be organized and reliable. Type B may procrastinate and be unreliable at times, but Type B will also be forgiving and comforting when Type A is hard on him/her self. Fourthly, always listen carefully to your partners side of the story or argument even if you are sure that you know what they are about to say. This shows respect for a spouse and will help minimize frustration levels. Fifthly, keep in mind that men and women are very different by nature. Women and men react different in the same situations. As John Grey writes in his famous best seller “Men are From Mars: Women are from Venus”, a man will come home from a hard day at work and want to go into his cave, while a woman wants to socialize and talk about her stress. Fights can often be caused by lack of understanding due to poor communication. A man and woman must be very specific about their feelings and sensitively communicate their needs and desires to their spouse. Never assume that he/she naturally knows what you need. Sixthly, always remember to choose your words and battles wisely because you have to wake up next to your spouse tomorrow. Lastly, instead of pointing fingers and saying “you make me angry” focus on your feelings and state “I feel angry/upset when …”.
Even if you are married for many years, trying these communication and arguing skills can’t hurt. These skills will improve your relationship and your quality of life. Good luck with your relationship. Remember a relationship is hard work and positive communication will take time and effort. A couple should also keep in mind that if arguing or fighting seem to be spiraling out of control, a marriage counselor/therapist can be sought out for advice.