Navigating Conflict in Marriage: Strategies Pre-Marital Counseling

Importance of premarital counseling in navigating conflict in marriage

Being in love is one of the best feelings and can be exhilarating, overwhelming, and even euphoric. But once the initial romantic phase fades and it does, other issues like misunderstanding, insecurity, arguments, blame games or simply growing apart due to constant conflicts can damage the relationship.

Marital conflict is not just when partners have differences of opinion. It is a series of situations & episodes that have been poorly handled so as to deeply damage the marriage relationship. These issues grow to the point that anger, hurt, and other emotions prevent effective communication & resolution of conflict. It’s very important for you and your partner to go for premarital counselling which is a form of couple’s therapy intended to help couples prepare for marriage and the conflict that might arise in the future.

Premarital Counsellivng & Its Importance

Premarital Therapy helps couples build a healthy & solid base ahead of the long-term commitment of marriage. It supports you and your partner reflect on problems and overall things ranging from finances to children so that you both are on the same page. Through therapy, one can identify potential conflict areas and how much you both are equipped with the tools to navigate through them.

The main aim of premarital counselling is to help couples build a strong foundation for marriage. Therapy is designed in such a way that you and your partner will be equipped with tools to navigate through married life.

Now Let’s Understand How Premarital Therapy Can Help

  • ASSESS RELATIONSHIP DYNAMICS: Initial phase of premarital counselling is an assessment of relationship dynamics where the therapist identifies the strength & weaknesses of the relationship and recommendations are given regarding the required improvement
  • COMMUNICATION: The most crucial aspect of any relationship is communication. It’s about actively listening to each other to truly understand what your partner is saying and what is their inner experience. Sadly, one spends time thinking of their response as their partner is speaking. So they are not paying attention to the conversation. Through Premarital therapy partners learn to convey their issues clearly without attacking each other. It teaches them active listening skills which is an important skill for constructive communication.
  • CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILL: : Initially you might have issues concerning communication which often can lead to conflict but after learning problem-solving & conflict-resolution skills through therapy couples can have more constructive communication.
  • UNDERSTANDING RELATIONSHIP EXPECTATIONS: Partners must understand each other’s perspectives and be clear about what they can expect from each other after getting married. Premarital therapy safe space for couples to discuss & speak about their expectations on various topics like finances, intimacy, family planning, etc.
  • IDENTIFY POTENTIAL CHALLENGES: Premarital counselling helps couples identify challenges that might arise in the future. This might include different communication styles, financial stress, loans/debts, and conflict with in-laws. Once you identify the potential issues ahead of time, you can develop strategies to address them.
  • RELATIONSHIP SATISFACTION: One important benefit of premarital counselling is increased relationship satisfaction. By addressing concerns and building communication & conflict resolution skills , couples can experience happiness & satisfaction in their relationship. It helps in developing a deeper connection and understanding among couples, leading to a stronger and more fulfilling marriage

    Conflict in marriage is unavoidable but if handled properly by both partners, it can be healthy. So the question isn’t of avoiding conflict or not having them at all but of how one deals with the conflict. Marital conflict can lead to a process that develops closeness or isolation. You and your partner must choose how you are going to navigate through conflict

    These Are a Few Strategies That Can Be Helpful to Navigate through Conflict

    1. Resolving issues requires knowing & accepting each other as well as
    2. adjusting to each other’s differences
    3. Focus on your partners & relationships' positive aspects than the negative ones
    4. When communicating, people usually overuse “you” statements which can sound aggressive. Replace “you” statements with “I” to express your feelings and maintain focus on yourself. It will increase feelings of empathy towards each other. Example: replacing “you” statement “Why are you nasty to me? To the “I” statement, “I feel upset when you talk to me like that”
    5. If you feel flooded with intense emotions when you are communicating during the conflict, you most likely need to end the discussion now. Otherwise, chances are that you will either explode or shut down. Take a break and calm yourself by distracting or doing any other activity. For example, do deep breathing, go for a walk, or might as well write down what you are feeling in a diary. Taking such breaks helps conflict from escalating.
    6. Take responsibility for your action. During conflicting situations, take a step back and ask yourself if you might be also doing something that is contributing to the conflict. For example, are you shouting? or insisting that your way is only the ideal way? Changes are there that if one is not making any progress in resolving the problem, then you are making some contribution to it. Take responsibility willingly for what you are doing and apologize for the same. Then move towards finding solutions to the conflict. When couples are willing to do this during the conflict, it can change the tone & direction of the whole communication.

    It’s very crucial to take time out and seek therapy to ensure that your marriage starts on a strong foundation with both partners feeling comfortable about their future. It might seem daunting initially, but it will pay off in the long run by helping you lay down solid foundations to build a lifelong relationship

image credit : freepik