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How to Cope With Anger and Conflict During Marriage

by Latoya Newman

Conflict and anger are inevitable features of any marriage. Despite the negative connotations these factors usually take, if managed well, they can strengthen the marital bond, instead of destroying it. To maintain a successful relationship, partners can practice "fighting fair" by nurturing respect for their spouses, avoiding the blame game, controlling their temper and coming up with workable solutions to problems. In effect, couples must embrace conflict as a challenge they can face and overcome, instead of something they avoid and repress.

Talk About the Problem

Successful marriages involve partners who use good aspects of communication to avoid or reduce conflict. Together, you can come up with solutions or compromises to the problem. This is a much more productive, healthier situation to the alternative of keeping your frustrations pent up, which may leak out as harbored resentments or unwarranted eruptions, states Herbert G. Lingren, an extension family life specialist in the article, "Managing Conflict Successfully." It is also important to address each other respectfully, without placing blame or using deprecating remarks. Telling your spouse, "You're being really stupid" is more likely to increase the conflict than bring about a resolution. This also has the effect of inflicting hurt, which may create the substance of future conflict and resentment.

Allow for Time Out

When one or both partners are upset, that is not the time to attempt to deal with the issue head on. Allow time to for each spouse to calm down. It can be difficult to be rational when you are angry. If, during the discussion, one or both partners starts to get upset, it is alright to call a "time out" and to continue the discussion when you are both in a more receptive mood, says Nancy Recker, an associate professor of family and consumer sciences at Ohio State University, in the article, "Dealing With Anger in a Marriage."

Be Willing to Compromise

It can be constructive for couples to identify the triggers that make their partners angry, and if possible, avoid doing them in the future. Some things may actually be quite avoidable, such as leaving your dirty dishes in the sink or making impromptu purchases from the shared account. These are habits that an individual can make efforts to correct. Making compromises will effectively prove to your spouse that you truly care and are committed to him and to the relationship.

Practice Self-Control

Although something may upset you or cause you to become angry, it doesn’t mean that you need to lose control. If you lose your temper too quickly and too often saying or doing hurtful things in the heat of the moment, practice relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing, counting or tension exercises like tightening and loosening the fists, so that you can calm down before making a response or addressing an issue.

About the Author

Latoya Newman is a novelist who wrote and published her first novel in 2012. She has a background in education, research and counseling. She taught at the elementary level for eight years, and has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from York University in Toronto, Canada.

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