How to solve problems in marriage

Why is it that more than half of all marriages ends in divorce? Is it that couples get bored with each other, have an affair or simply fall out of love? These are all valid reasons, but certainly do not account for the majority of divorce cases in the developed world. The main reason why the divorce rate is so high is that most couples do not know how to solve problems in marriage.

All marriages have their ups and downs. Ask any couple who’ve been married for fifty years or more and they’ll testify to that! The main difference between successful marriages and unsuccessful marriages is that in a successful marriage both partners understand the need to work through problems together as a team instead of running away from the issues in opposite directions. They’ll sit down with each other and talk the issues over, arriving at a compromise that suits both of them, instead of storming out of the house or flying into a defensive rage.

Knowing how to solve problems in marriage through discussion, negotiation and compromise, with both partners having an equal say, really is the key to a happy marriage! Here we show you how to achieve this:

1) Act! Don’t react

Being defensive comes naturally to the human species. For thousands of years, we have had to perfect the art of self-defense, and, from time to time, it is something that we still have to do today. It should therefore come as little surprise that when we find ourselves in an argument, we are compelled to defend ourselves by biting back at the aggressor, even in a relationship.

To elevate a marriage to a successful marriage, we must curb our natural instinct to strike back, and learn instead to take decisive action to resolve the issue. A simple technique to help you do this when in the midst of an argument is to take time out and count to ’10’, before answering back. This will take some of the heat out of the situation and give yourself time to start thinking in a positive light. Your response should then be – “Okay, I hear what you say…we need to sit down and sort this issue out.”

2) Get the atmosphere right

In the heat of an argument, when partners are uptight about a marriage situation, trying to switch to a solution-oriented frame of mind is not so easy. It is a good idea to take 10 minutes out away from each other and then reconvene to start your discussion. If necessary, you might need to schedule a time the following day or later in the week to have a proper discussion when you’ll both be in the right frame of mind.

When ‘discussion time’ does come, make sure that you take precautions to prevent your discussion being interrupted. Take the phone off the hook, or switch the answerphone on. Make sure the TV is turned off, and that books and magazines are laid down. This way, you can focus 100% on each other and in finding a solution.

3) Uncover the motivation

Your first task is to uncover why your partner has a specific point of view to a marriage issue. You need to start off by saying that you want to resolve the problems and that you really want to understand where they’re coming from. Get them talking about the reasons why they want what they want, how they feel it will improve their life and how they feel it will improve the relationship as a whole. Let them talk and do not interrupt. Just look for positive points that you can empathize with and agree upon.

If you find that it is difficult to get your partner talking, start asking direct questions based on assumptions that require them to answer with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You can then build up a picture of their motivations for a particular point of view, as well as help them to realize that you are making a real attempt to understand their thoughts.

4) Be solution oriented

Look at the different scenarios and tell your partner how you will feel for each scenario, as well as the likely consequences to the relationship as a whole. State what your motivations are and re-state what your partner’s motivations are. Then ask your partner for ideas/solutions that would make you both happy.

5) Negotiate & find a compromise

Marriage is a compromise, and you must be prepared to make the first move! If no solution proposed by your partner is good enough, then grant your spouse something that they want in return for something that you want out of the relationship. Keep doing this until you find a good level of compromise that keeps you and your partner relatively happy. Once you reach this point, open a bottle of wine and have a good laugh together…it helps!



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