My husband comes from another culture. Imagine our first year together.But let me stop there and be a little bit more positive….
Being from different cultures and even different continents, brought into our marriage a special spice capable of enriching my life in many aspects. But like in any other relationship that strives for intimacy, conflict has not been absent from our marriage.
The following are tips in a nutshell that I have learned in the past years of how to resolve conflict. Hope it can be of some use in your relationships.
1. Love above mistakes.
My mom who has a day care one time ask a small girl of about 3 years old:
“Sussy what is marriage?” The girl looked back at her in unbelief, then she said
“Teacher don’t you know?, to ruin your life!”
Although I did not enter marriage with such a terrible hopes I did learn that marriage could become the perfect theater for partners to hurt each other. The daily stressors in our lives can catch us unprepared to deal with each other in love. Sometimes harshness or indifference may knock at our door and get into our homes with out us even noticing or with us even wanting to.
The good news is that marriage is also the perfect place to practice forgiveness, to grow and become whole. When the rough current rises, remember that your partners weaknesses may be put there for a specific purpose, they usually make us develop qualities we lack. But if they falter and hurt you, remember also, that forgiveness is the most beautiful gift you can offer and loves is capable of covering all mistakes.
“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
2. Use common Kindness
When you fall in love kindness flows so naturally, is an everyday experience, a daily gift, a fond expression of our love. I remember when I was dating Andrzej It will be so easy to say thank you, please, excuse me, words of appreciation will be written in the numerous notes we wrote to each other.
Later I realized, with the passing of time that your partner becomes the most familiar person in your life, more even than your parents or siblings and familiarity sometimes can attract indifference.
Is hard to admit here, but I must confessed I became whinny, complained more easily and used kind words less and less often. One day I realized this when I was having a strong argument with my husband and suddenly the phone rang. My tone of voice changed immediately and I answer with a sweet “May I help you?”
Slowly God has been showing me that as a mother I am the center of happiness in the home and a sweet tone of voice and kind words are necessary for a peaceful and happy home. Children imitate parents; in the good and the bad habits. Is necessary for us to remember that modeling respect love, appreciation and gentleness towards our partner may bring us closer to heaven, closer to each other and help us raise loving children.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (proverbs 15:1)
3. Winning doesn’t mean really winning
The other day I read in face book a nice quote that it read “Be selective in your battles, sometimes peace is better than being right”. Sometimes you may win an argument but end up with a very upset partner. Remember; you cannot always be right, we all make mistakes. When wrong is good to admit it, even if it take us a whole day or a whole week, believe me it can really help you to practice humbleness. Controlling our tongue can foster peace and that is much better than being right. Listening instead of arguing builds up your relationship.
“We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault at what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check…the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boast. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also fire, it corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:2,5-6)
4. Be creative
I remember an experience I had while dating. One day Andrzej and I had a strong argument, we did not see each other until next day, and although he was literally broke, he went to the country side and picked up a beautiful set of wild flowers and end up with a beautiful bouquet in front of my door. It almost brought me to tears, and made me love him even more. Making peace can be a beautiful experience and it can become memorable with a little bit of creativity. Remember that God made us into his image and gave us the ability to be creative like Him, to make life more abundant and beautiful. Use this power to give your love a push
“So God created man into his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27)
5. Pray together and for each other
For Andrzej and I the night is sacred, especially before we fall asleep This is the perfect time for us to kneel down and ask God and each other for forgiveness. I find it hard to pray if I’m angry at him. God’s Holy presence can truly make you see how sinful I am, and how far away from the way HE really loves us. Give God the opportunity to soften your spirit; if you are under His care, he will guide you to find your path back to your partner’s heart. Make peace before going to sleep.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16)
6. Make space for dates
Growing in intimacy through conversation and good times with each other makes the rough times look smaller. Especially when you look back in time. Don’t wait until they arrive to do it, you may spend more time and money trough counseling building your relationship back into shape. Instead foster this type of atmosphere on regular basis. Having cultivated strong roots connecting with each other on weekly basis may help you face any stormy stage with more hope for better days.
“I will search for the one my heart loves” (Song of Songs 3:2)
7. Give each other time
There are moments when time is the best medicine for the heart. But if you are having an argument and decide to take a brake in the middle of it please verbalize this to your partner. The need for time aside may give you both a space to relax and reconsider. But shutting down suddenly and just running away from the house or the room may end up escalating the situation, thus the importance of communication. Let your partner know you need time and may be a walk alone.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.(1 Peter 4:8)”