Avoiding conflict all the way to the divorce lawyer’s office

April 7, 2011

in Links to good stuff, Marriage Killer

Not talking © Rene Jansa | Dreamstime.com

The number one predictor of divorce is the habitual avoidance of conflict.

Does that sound strange? It is the conclusion of Diane Sollee, founder and director of Smart Marriages. I would agree avoiding conflict is a good way to harm any relationship, and especially a marriage.

No one likes conflict, but the only way to keep conflict from hurting your marriage is to deal with it. Dealing with it nicely is best, but studies have found even yelling is better than not talking. In the end, what matters is that both husband and wife feel heard. Finding a “solution” is good, but if both feel they have been heard the marriage is made far more secure than if either feels unheard.

If you are a conflict avoider, please realise you are putting a gun to your marriage when you avoid conflict. If your bride is the conflict avoider, share this with her, and ask her what you can do to encourage her to deal with conflict. (Lowering your voice and letting her talk uninterrupted are absolute musts.)

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4 comments
Tiler
Tiler

If I may add that Husbands have to know basic skills of communication before you "deal" with the conflict, otherwise I think there is a risk of causing more damage that resolving it. Before I was wrongfully thinking that in order to deal with the conflict I just need to dump it out, speak up, accuse my wife in her wrongdoing towards me Now i realize that most of the time it's good to listen her part of story first, try to see why she thinks it's a problem and then respectfully add what you think or believe is right instead of dumping accusation on her and using shame as a weapon of change her character. I did not know all of this even I read and studied the Bible. I improved slightly after reading few great Books: "Difficult Conversations", "Crucial confrontations", "Fierce Conversations". Then went back to the Bible and made sure that it was Biblical. I recommend those books to every couple and every person in charge of leading people. Feedback welcome

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@paul - I don't see where we disagree at all. You are not avoiding the issue, you are dealing with it in a calm way. I think that is ideal and I applaud you for it. What has been shown by research (Gottman in particular) is that any way of dealing with conflict is better than not dealing with it. That means yelling and screaming, while not good and possibly harmful, is LESS harmful in the long run than not dealing with the conflict.

paul
paul

I respectfully disagree. My wife & I have been happily married for over 22 yrs and we have never even raised our voices with one another. Sometimes when we disagree--the best approach is for us to independently go off to ourselves and think about the problem and two or three options that are available to solve it. Then, come together again, and compare notes/options and then make a decision about with option(s) are best for US.

Rob
Rob

Agreed! Our unwillingness to talk about uncomfortable subjects kept us in a bad place for years where resentments were piling up, but we thought keeping the peace was so important. You really have to find loving ways of dragging those issues into the light. Besides, women dig guys who deal with things in a straightforward way!

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