How to Keep Conflict Healthy

Most people don’t associate conflict with anything good — especially in marriage. You might even go out of your way to avoid arguing with your spouse because you don’t want to disrupt things or weaken your relationship somehow.

But, conflict doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, some of the healthiest and strongest couples argue about things — they just know how to do it in a healthy way.

Yes, you can keep conflict healthy. It requires respect, a listening ear, and the realization that you and your spouse want the same things even if you have different ideas on how to achieve them.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can keep conflict in your relationship healthy.

Respect Each Other’s Feelings

When two people get involved in an argument, they’re usually bringing two different opinions or viewpoints to the table.

You might come to a conclusion within that argument. You might decide that one person is right and one person is wrong. But, you also might not, and that’s okay.

Conflict resolution isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about understanding and respecting how your spouse feels, thinks, perceives, and especially what they need. You don’t have to agree with them, even after talking things out, but it will make a big difference in your marriage if you choose to attune to their feelings, honor their beliefs, and if they do the same for you.

Be an Active Listener

When you’re trying to get your spouse to see your point of view, especially when something is bothering you, it can be tempting to speak your mind without listening in return.

Being an active listener requires more than just hearing what your spouse has to say. They need to know you understand their perspective, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.

Use nonverbal cues to let them know you’re paying attention. Ask questions for clarification. Repeat certain phrases to ensure you understand what they mean. By truly being an active listener, you’ll show your spouse both love and respect. You might even end up having an easier time seeing where they’re coming from.

Take Time to Cool Off

Some conflicts can be more heated than others. It usually depends on the subject. If you’re disagreeing about something that’s caused you to become angry or upset, don’t hesitate to back away from the conversation for a while.

That doesn’t mean ignoring your spouse and it doesn’t mean sweeping things under the rug.

Rather, give yourself time to cool off. Take a few minutes or a few hours to clear your head and think about what you might want to say. This can keep you from speaking out of anger or bringing up past hurts in the conversation. It will allow you to stay focused on the present and work through things effectively.

Your Spouse Isn’t Against You

We touched on it earlier, but one of the most important things to remember when you’re dealing with conflict in your relationship is that you and your spouse are on the same team.

That doesn’t mean you’re the same person.

You have different ideas and opinions, and that’s okay. The most successful teams in the world are made up of people from all walks of life. Your differences can actually strengthen your relationship and bring you closer as long as you’re willing to work through them together.

As you can see, conflict doesn’t have to be a bad thing. When you both make the active choice to keep conflict healthy, your disagreements (and how you view them) will start to change. It takes time and effort to shift how you argue, but it’s not an impossible task. Keep these tips in mind to get started.

If you want to learn how to better resolve conflict in your marriage, don’t feel like you have to deal with that on your own. Contact us by calling 623-680-3486, texting 623-688-5115, or emailing and mention your interest in a Christian marriage intensive.

Maybe a marriage intensive is not right for you.  If you are looking for more traditional weekly marriage counseling for your Christian marriage or even individual counseling to learn how to better deal with trust issues in your marriage please visit our website for Crossroads Counseling, click here.