Say What You Mean
This is a two-part tip. First, you need to think carefully about what you say to your partner. Consider whether or not it could be misconstrued and if it will be helpful in reaching a resolution. Strive for clarity. Then, make sure that you’re being honest with your partner and yourself. Don’t say that you don’t care if he buys you flowers or takes you out to dinner if you don’t truly mean it. Marriage shouldn’t be a decoding game of encrypted messages. It’s better to be honest about your feelings and expectations because it helps your relationship feel more secure for both of you.
When was the last time you felt especially inclined to listen to someone who was angrily shouting at you? Did their shouting make you want to listen or did it make you angry in return? Letting your anger get the best of you benefits no one, especially not you. You can communicate your hurt or frustration just as effectively in a calm manner, whether you are giving or receiving criticism, and you’re more likely to get a positive response in return.
Persist Until You’re Not Angry
Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” It’s always tempting to shove conflict under the rug, and sometimes sleeping off your anger feels like a good idea. However, the reality is that avoiding an issue won’t make it go away. It can breed contempt and resentment. It’s okay to take a brief pause until you can discuss something calmly, but if possible, trust and implement the Bible’s wisdom.
Apologize and Forgive
In almost every conflict in marriage, both of you need to apologize at the end of a conflict, which means you both need forgiveness. Accepting your part in the problem will encourage your partner to strive for change. It will also make it easier to forgive the other person because it’s a reminder that you, too, are imperfect. Remember that, despite all of the ways you are unworthy, Christ has bought forgiveness for you. You should extend the same grace to your spouse.