Tips for Avoiding getting through

In writing from a Christian perspective, having counseled with couples through some pretty hairy ordeals, and some simple minor adjustments too, I want to share with you a quick list for you to keep handy when contemplating how to handle the unavoidable (and avoidable) conflicts of marriage. I’ve yet to meet a couple, young or old, that had never, and I mean honestly never, had a disagreement or argument about something along the way.

However, the difference between reacting and responding is the key ingredient behind every one of these tips. While you may find a few of these tips in need of less generalization, it’s my hope that you’ll take some time with your spouse to discuss together how, not necessarily all, many of them could unlock more beneficial “meetings of the minds” rather than continuing on a destructive pattern and approach to communicating in marriage.

1. Listen First
2. Think before you speak
3. Never use 100% statements
4. Marriage is hard work; how hard are you working at it?
5. It probably took you a while to get here. Therefore
6. Keep it light; try holding hands or whispering during discussions
7. The past is off-limits when discussing the present
8. Don’t expect from them what you wouldn’t do yourself
9. Do you really know why you want what you want?
10. “I feel like” is always valid
11. Compromise the non-essentials
12. Don’t fight just to be right
13. Explain, don’t complain
14. Make the desired outcome clear
15. Sometimes, a little space can go a long way
16. Never go to bed angry…never
17. Sit on the same side of a table & put issues on the other
18. Attack the problem & not the person
19. It’s not your’s, it’s the family’s
20. Sometimes a mediator really is necessary
21. If you did wrong, just admit it
22. Apologies go a long way
23. When they’re right, tell them
24. Limit the discussion to one or two things
25. Avoid overconfident commitments that you can’t keep
26. Pray together before and after
27. Write out what you can’t say
28. Kids are always learning; they’re not pawns in a game
29. Don’t get super-spiritual or self-righteous
30. Some conflict is necessary & important for growth in your marriage
31. Get 1 way you can be a better spouse each week
32. Ask your spouse to make you written lists
33. Ask: “What can I do to make your life easier?”
34. Say/Ask: “What you’re saying makes sense. How can I help?”
35. Avoid hurtful details with “I’m really hurting right now.”
36. Instead of accusing say, “I’m battling with a fear.”
37. The key to Reaction versus Response is Self-Control
38. Ultimately, you both want a good relationship. Move forward!
39. Remember you love each other
40. Remember that Jesus died for you both