#StayAtHomeMarriage3 – Avoiding Conflict

The word “conflict” is associated with negativity. While some shy away from it, others thrive and are bold in confrontation. Ideally, it is best to avoid conflict because you save yourself from unnecessary stress and emotional turmoil. But we all know that the ideal is not usually the case. To understand how to avoid conflict, I need you to ask yourself this question: Am I that spouse that doesn’t mind conflict or am I the spouse that would do everything to avoid one?

Naturally, I am not one to shy away from conflict. I am team #bringiton (lol). On the other hand, Mr. M avoids conflict and would rather not confront a situation head-on except it is very necessary and unavoidable. I am sure that you can already imagine how our arguments would be like.

Over the years, we have learnt (and are still learning) how to deal with conflict. I am “still learning” because I am no “expert” at marital issues. We constantly practice these tips to help our marriage thrive. These tips are not things you do once and then put aside; they are things that you have to deliberately and intentionally do often.

Since I am the #bringiton kind of person, it means that avoiding conflict is not usually on my agenda when I relate with Mr. M. I am usually more concerned about resolving the issue on ground irrespective of whether it could degenerate into a fight or not. Over the years, I realised that insisting on tackling issues my way especially when it could lead to conflict was not the best way to go. In fact, it is not wisdom. My actions were unconsciously turning Mr. M away from relating with me on “touchy” issues. This meant that at the end of the day, we never fully resolved some issues for fear of hurting each other. Mr. M preferred to keep mum while I would become frustrated that he didn’t reply my queries. It took a while for me to understand why Mr. M did this, and it also took a while for him to understand me. 

Eventually and after lots of painful “fellowships”, we both came to the understanding that it was better for us to avoid conflicts all together that try and resolve one. It meant that I had to stay down and not be quick to be confrontational while he had to be more responsive when I raised an issue. Even if it meant him telling me to give him time to contemplate an issue, he had to be responsive; and I had to be content with his response and be patient however long it took.

It is important to note here that avoiding conflict should NOT be confused with refusing to deal with issues. This means that you need to be wise and sensitive to know which issues are to be dealt with and which you need to let go for peace sake. In a nut shell, “pick your fights”. I’ll advice that issues that do not clash with your core values as an individual, as a couple or as a family should as much as possible be made not to become an issue. It is not everything that needs a round-table resolution. If you are like me, you need to make peace by yourself with the help of God. I practice that a lot. I simply go to God in prayers to help me resolve some issues that I know Mr. M doesn’t even see as an issue. It is in the place of prayers that God opens my eyes and heart to see that what I am making a whole big deal about is actually nothing. It is with God that my peace is eventually restored and whatever grudge or pain I was carrying in my heart is taken away. I’m sure you can now see why I your spouse should never be your all in all.

Lastly, if you are like Mr. M who naturally avoids conflict or confrontation, you need to shift ground a tiny bit. I want you to be sensitive to your spouse’s emotional needs. Even if you refuse to engage in a confrontation at the moment it crops up, please ensure that you revisit the issue with your spouse when all tension is down. Mr. M learnt to do this with me. He would later ask me questions and engage in constructive conversations that would help us resolve our issues. If tensions begin to fly again, he retreats and tries again. Doing this to your spouse helps them know that you care and you are not just insensitive to their feelings.

I know that being home all day with your spouse may have brought out the “worst” in you, I want to encourage you to try all I have explained above. You can share with your spouse too and discuss your mode of operation going forward based on this. I pray and hope that there would be great improvements. In my next post, I would be delving further by talking about conflict resolutions. As much as we all know that it is best to avoid conflict, when you are finally in the middle of one, what should you do? I look forward to receiving your feedback.

Thank you for reading.

#StayAtHomeMarriage2 – Personal Space Management

When your spouse is constantly in your face because you are together, it can be a challenging experience managing your personal space. Then with children in the picture, this could even make you feel overwhelmed.

I remember the first one month Mr. M and I were together after he resigned, I felt “holed up” in a “test”. But because we had unconsciously done the exercise I recommended in my previous post, we ended up adjusting moderately fast to each other. Besides, since it was not up to a year after marriage, it was possible that the honeymoon mushy feeling must have made a positive impact. We were together in whatever we planned to do and there was no going back. As much as I loved his company, I still needed my own space. Mr. M felt the same too. So how did we cope?

Firstly, I came to realize that Mr. M sometimes wants to be left alone. We could be in the middle of some interesting gist or task, and after a few minutes, the conversation stops because Mr. M wants to move on to something else without me. I initially felt like he was shutting me out or maybe I had done/said something to hurt him, but I later realized (it took a long while though) that he just wanted that “me” time. Your spouse may be like Mr. M or like me who takes a while to “come out” of my space, and unlike Mr. M, I do not retreat into my space easily or often. Therefore, whenever your spouse shows the signs of wanting his/her personal space, please oblige without taking it as an affront on your person or with suspicion. If you need your personal space as well, communicate with your spouse and help him/her understand your needs.

Secondly, work from different rooms. Mr. M and I love being in the same room together. We tend to thrive more when we are both sharing the same work space. However, when you have been together in the same space for so long, conflict is bound to arise. Now that you have no choice than to be in the same space with your spouse at this time, you can already imagine how much you have to contend with. Though the conflict may not always come directly from your spouse, other factors like working from home, your children, or even other family members can be sources of conflict. As a result, there is a tendency to lash out consciously or unconsciously at your spouse. In other to avoid this, especially when you kind of feel on an edge, work from/move to a different room for a while. Preserving the peace in your home should be paramount to you at this time. For your own sake, please pursue peace. I would rather you stay away for a while to deal with your emotions than let them control you. What I usually do is to retreat to another room and pray in the spirit. By praying in the spirit, I am giving my spirit man the right of way to my emotions. I’m killing the flesh and allowing God’s spirit in me take decisions. By the time I am through, I have a clearer head. Whatever space my heart had for malice or appetite for pettiness or revenge is snuffed out. You should do that too.

Lastly, become secure in yourself through God. The worst thing that can happen to you is to live a life of paranoia. I don’t know about you, but as much as I love and trust my husband, he is not my all in all. I want you to read that statement carefully again. Yes, you read right! I have learnt and I am learning to be secure in God and God alone. Mr. M knows this and has the same thoughts too. In fact, he encourages me to stay secure in myself through God. When you do this, managing your personal space becomes easier and more fruitful. This is because you are not simply focusing on “self” which naturally is selfish and destructive. Instead, you are focusing on God to make “self” show good character in love which makes you a better person and positively affects your marriage. You become more accommodating and forgiving. Above all, the strength, grace and wisdom in maximising your personal space is made available. I implore you to get to know God personally. You have just one thing to lose – “self”.

In my next post, I will be delving deeper into resolving conflict particularly the kind that can leave you very emotionally distraught.

Thanks for reading. See you soon!

#StayAtHomeMarriage1 – Getting “Unstuck”


I got married in 2013 after having a long distance relationship. We courted for 4 years. We were barely together in the same physical space for up to 6 months within those years. I married Mr. M in faith and because I was convinced that he was the right man for me.

Prior to accepting Mr. M’s proposal, I had series of personal encounters with God concerning who I was to marry. This helped me navigate through courtship in a way that helped set the foundation for our marriage.

By the time we got married, we both had a fair understanding of each other. Initially, Mr. M was working in Lagos while I lived in Ibadan, making us a “weekend couple”. Life was bliss! We talked every opportunity we got and weekends were like new episode shoot offs of our honeymoon. We synced perfectly👌

Then came 2014 when we both decided it was time we pursued our dream. Mr. M quit his job and suddenly, we were stuck together! Lol! It was finally time to truly know who I was married to, and boy did I not learn (and I’m still learning) a lot about him. Same thing for Mr. M; he suddenly saw me on a whole new “deeper” level (lol!). In a nutshell, we started burrowing into each other at an accelerated rate. Things that would normally take a good number of years to discover and learn, took much shorter under our circumstances.

I believe this is similar to what you are going through right now. The #stayathome mandate has forced you and your spouse to be in each others faces 24/7. You now have new spousal chapters in the book of marriage that needs to be read and understood without losing your joy and peace when the challenges arise.

To navigate through the tests that would start at this period, ask yourself this important question: Who did I marry? Your answers would help chart a strategic path in your marriage both for now and years to come. I’ll suggest that you write down your answers. This is for the sake of accountability and being intentional. After this, break down the question into these two perspectives:

  1. Your spouse BEFORE marriage.
  2. Your spouse AFTER marriage.

There is usually a difference between 1 and 2, and it is in those differences that the secret to thriving lies. The difference(s) may be stark or negligent; negative or positive; little or much; or just there. The essence is for you to be armed with the necessary information to engage and relate with your spouse. Please, be very truthful to yourself. Do not lie or exaggerate; do not put down phantom behaviors. If what you see is not what you like, you can create a separate list of who you want your spouse to be; we would come to that later.

Your answers would then help you manage the expectations you have of your spouse. You see yourself adapting to situations better because of this new understanding of who you married. That whole negative vibe of being “stuck” gradually recedes. You have finally put your spouse in the right perspective. This may be easy for some of you, and hard for others. Please do not get discouraged but take your time to do this. Put aside your frustrations or anger, and get started to enjoying this period.

In my next post(s), I would be talking about how you can manage your space with your spouse. I would be delving deeper into how you can unwind, stay focused and manage your emotions despite having your spouse constantly in your space. Since you cannot up and drive out of your home when you get upset or need to unwind, you need innovative methods to help you thrive. In the meantime, carry out the above exercise and take time to note more differences and pray for your spouse. Trust me, prayers do work!

Thanks for reading and see you soon!