5 Critical Steps to Follow When Resolving Conflicts with Your Spouse

I was sitting in my bed trying to hold back the tears, not knowing why the most important person in my life was constantly hurting me…and I him.

Hurtful words from wounded hearts were the norm for Gus and I.

Trying to give love out of a dried up well was the constant in our relationship.

Gus and I were not only very different, but we were very wounded and we SUCKED at communicating. Every word we said was misunderstood and mismatched to mean something else.

Too many people act as if they are worthless during an argument.


Shirley Solis, Tweet This

It wasn’t until the devastating news of Gus’ secret addiction came out, that we were forced to deal with the reality of our marriage… and when that reality hit, our “marriage toolbelt” did not have the right tools to work through our pain and reconciliation.

Thankfully, mentors and friends helped us pick up the pieces, while God, Gus and I worked through the ins and outs of restoration.

It’s been just over five years since our marriage almost crumbled and although we still have our challenges, we are far from the daily fights and inner frustration we felt for the first 16 years of our marriage (a long time to be miserable, I know).

Recently, Gus and I had a conflict and as I pondered how far we’ve come, I realized there was a “system” that helped us get through it. I wish someone would have given me this system, because each step in this system is essential to honoring each party and resolving the issue at hand.

I know in the midst of arguments it’s easy to forget any systems, steps or tips, because our wounds and pain flourish, BUT if you could learn even one of these steps and master it, you can always come back to this and check against it to re-do the resolution of your conflict.


Youtube Video Link 5 Critical Steps to Follow When Resolving Conflicts with Your Spouse

Here are the 5 steps to follow when resolving a conflict with your spouse (or anyone):

1) Give yourself value. Too many people act as if they are worthless during an argument. It is important to remember you have worth and value, because your behavior and the resolution will depend upon it.

2) Give your spouse value. If we fail to consider the other person’s worth, we may say hurtful things, judge them and be careless about their feelings. This is the golden rule- treat others as you would like to be treated. In addition, you will keep things in perspective if the other person is not valuing himself/herself in their speech or actions. You can remind them of their value and lift them up, rather than tear them down. A conflict could more easily resolved when BOTH people remember they have value and worth.

3) Express how you feel. This is an important and critical step. Couples often share what they feel ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON, not how THEY are feeling inside. Conversations should not go like this, “I am feeling you did x wrong.” Rather, they should be expressed as “I am feeling hurt, sad, frustrated, etc..” Try to keep the focus on you, not the other person. By the way, don’t stay in this too long. An emphasis on feelings could highlight the pain and it will keep you from thinking clearly.

A conflict could more easily resolved when BOTH people remember they have value and worth.


Shirley Solis, Tweet This

4) Appeal for what you would like to see. I’ve learned to communicate CLEARLY, so as to avoid misunderstandings. Therefore, I try to identify as quickly as possible the direct and fair improvement in action or attitude I would like to see (and it helps when someone else is clear with me in this way also). The request has to be reasonable and it has to respect the other person’s personality, timeline, boundaries, progress, etc..

5) Ask for closure. There is always one person in the relationship that needs closure. Don’t be afraid to search within and analyze if you have felt closure in this situation. Ultimately, you can identify if closure has been accomplished because you feel connection with the other person again. Closure does not always happen right away, but be clear in expressing you need it and what you would like to see happen to have closure.

6) **Forgive any offenses. This is a bonus point and I assume you are making forgiveness a part of your daily life. Lack of forgiveness makes us resentful and bitter, which then causes an additional gap in the relationship. I highly encourage you to always forgive any offense and let go of any negative emotions, so you can think clearly and apply the above steps in a reasonable way.


Question: Which of the steps above could you begin applying when resolving conflicts with your spouse (or anyone)?

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