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Crush Conflict

Sarah Chana Radcliffe

No one likes to fight. And yet, most of us voluntarily engage in some sort of verbal boxing match on a regular basis. Much as we don’t want it, we don’t seem to know how to avoid it — especially with our spouses. The encouraging news is that these skills can be learned. Here are 13 techniques designed to foster, build, and permanently maintain marital tranquility.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Like a domino effect, conflict promotes more conflict. Likewise, peace promotes more peace. So the first step in averting outbursts is to create an undercurrent of peaceful energy in your marriage. When couples are in a positive cycle, they are far less likely to argue, blame, find fault, or squabble over small things. However, when the cycle is in a negative phase, every dirty cup and three-minute delay becomes fodder for a full-out battle. Here are practical ways to cultivate a peaceful energy between you and your spouse: Make Date Nights Nonnegotiable When people are in a negative cycle, they try to dodge each other rather than arrange date nights. But this is when it’s most important to spend quality time together. If you haven’t already done so, designate a certain night of the week for just the two of you. Inside the house or out, you need at least a couple of hours to relax, talk, and to simply enjoy each other’s company. Don’t use this time to discuss issues of any kind (e.g., kids, finances, in-laws, work). Children should also be taught that this is your important alone time together and they aren’t welcome to interrupt it. If you and your spouse don’t enjoy the same things, create an area of common ground. Develop a hobby together, learn something together, or work on a project together. What if you can’t bear being alone with your spouse? Force yourself to maintain your “date” but make it shorter and less personal than you might otherwise. For instance, go out shopping together for something you need for the house, or stay at home and play a short board game. Such activities don’t require a lot of personal connection, but it does keep the relationship alive. Being together despite the current marital strain also serves as a good reminder that the marriage will carry on through this challenging stage.

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