Managing Conflict in Marriage
Have you ever had a disagreement or misunderstanding with your spouse? If you’re truthful, the answer will most certainly be "Yes!". Conflict in marriage is inevitable. Even the best marriages experience conflict from time to time. The key to success in marriage is how couples handle their conflicts and differences.
Some typical issues that often spark conflict in marriage are:
Money—regardless of how much money a couple has, it is often the biggest source of marital conflict. It’s important for spouses to discuss their values and feelings about money so each partner can try to understand the other. Working out a budget and planning finances usually require negotiation and compromise, but they are important tasks that help couples set priorities and goals for the future.
In-laws—are usually most problematic in the early years of a marriage. In-law issues can trigger conflict within the entire family. Spouses can deal with in-law problems by sharing their feelings and discussing what kind of relationship they want with their in-laws. Expressing negativity about in-laws usually just makes things worse.
Sex—this is an emotional issue and many spouses are afraid of getting hurt or rejected by their partners so they avoid discussing their feelings about sexual issues. In order for couples to resolve conflicts about sexual matters, it is crucial that they communicate directly, specifically and lovingly about their needs.
Child-rearing—is a time-consuming task that requires huge amounts of energy. Husbands and wives often have conflicting views on how to parent, based on how they were raised. Whatever decisions and rules parents make, it’s important that they are united in front of the children. Otherwise, kids will learn to play one parent off the other, which contributes to further conflict in the marriage.
It’s important to remember that if conflict and negativity are unresolved, that the good aspects of a marriage usually diminish. Although some conflict is unavoidable, it is critical for spouses to manage their differences in constructive ways in order for the marriage to be healthy.
Source: University of Missouri Extension GH 6610 "Creating a Strong and Satisfying Marriage"