10 ways to make conflict easier

By: Nicole Aliya Rahim, M.A., BCBA
Written: for Nikah.ca

conflict in marriages
conflict in marriages

When you hear the word conflict, it may stir up images of negativity, or, it may even make you feel uncomfortable, that is totally normal and natural. Both the bad and good news is, conflict is essential in marriages and is also a likely gateway for some astounding revelations about you and your partner that can actually lead to stronger and healthier relationships. Use conflict as a means of redirecting your relationship back onto the path of unity and oneness. Here are a few tips to navigate conflict in your relationship.


(1) Expect it. Go into marriage expecting conflict, because if you can expect something, you can plan for it. You can plan how to react and give thought to the ways in which you have seen others (parents, co-workers, friends etc.) in your life handle conflict. This is part of your learning history and often shapes the way you will respond in similar situations.


(2) Set some guidelines with your partner regarding situations of conflict. Ask and answer questions such as, what do you expect from each other and what lines should not be crossed.


(3) Conflict promotes empathy. Empathy is when you try to understand a situation from the perspective of the other. Train yourself to do this during conflicts; it will ease tension and create a stronger bond.


(4) Let your episodes of conflict help you and your partner evaluate what is wrong with your relationship. Do you need more time together or apart? Is your partner describing a pattern of your behaviour that you need to work on?


(5) Try to stay connected to the one issue raising the conflict instead of attacking each other personally or focusing on a myriad of other problems. It is understandable that many issues may be connected and interwoven but try to stay concentrated on the issue at hand.


(6) Learn how to listen. Being amidst conflict can make you and your partner ‘hyper’, ‘tense’, and ‘stressed’. But each party needs to learn to practice active listening (with eye contact and body language) and receive information. Take time to process the information and respond.


(7) Resolving conflict means that you will have to have an attitude of forgiveness. Learn that it is ok to forgive and it is ok to be wrong. Make the oneness and unity of your relationship more important than personal gain and selfishness.


(8) Pick the right time to discuss the conflict. If you are choosing a time when you or your partner is busy, exhausted and/or hungry, it may not be the time to discuss a highly sensitive topic.


(9) Recognize that some things may be a work in progress and a solution takes time. Sometimes you can agree to disagree.


(10) Understand you may need help to navigate through sensitive situations. Know when it is time to call a third party, Imam or marriage counsellor.


This article is intended to be basic advice, however, if you are in a situation where you feel you need support, reach out to a professional who can better help you based on your individualized needs.



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