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.