These five concepts, taken from various branches of Psychology, will help bring stability in marriage at the times of conflict.
Every person creates a model of the world to generate his behavior.
How we perceive the world, experience and react to it depends on this model we have created in our mind. The model is created based on the past experiences, Social and Neurological constraints.
Our attitude and behavior is in accordance with how we perceive the world.
My friend has a painful memory of her honeymoon period. She had plucked a flower to give to her husband as a symbol of her love.
Seeing this, the husband said, “Flowers should not be plucked. They look more beautiful on plants.”
They had little arguments. For her, “it was just a flower. Flowers are to express love”
For him, “It was cruelty to the nature.”
Had they understood that every person’s model of the world is different, they could have avoided the argument. One doesn’t need to agree with the other person but understand that there is a time and place to communicate your view points.
In this case, the husband could have accepted and returned the act of love with more love. He could have communicated his disliking for plucking flowers later.
Pause. Understand and grasp this concept to the fullest. This is very powerful knowledge.
This concept helps us to understand the person and where he is coming from. You will become more accepting of a person’s limitations.
Every person has his set of beliefs which guides his behavior
Depending on what is taught to us in childhood, attitudes, cultural background and memories, we make beliefs. These beliefs determine how we behave. We do not perceive the world in similar way.
Let’s see examples of conflicts arising from differences in beliefs.
The wife believes that social drinking is not only acceptable but also necessary in corporate world. The husband thinks otherwise. Conflict.
The husband is taught from childhood that he is a son and is supposed to look after the family. The wife feels the Mother-in-law is taking advantage of the filial son.
Understand the belief behind the action. Agree on some beliefs, Change some and agree to disagree on some. Be open- minded. Give the other person freedom to keep some beliefs that you do not agree with. Enjoy the freedom.
When we understand the beliefs behind actions, we become more tolerant. It also helps us to focus on issues rather than attack the person.
Say, the husband believes in helping others to the best of his capacity.
This leads to conflicts. The wife feels that he has time for others but not for the family. He is always on the phone or busy with others and neglects his family, he spends his entire time outside.
People are taking advantage of his kindness. People are expecting her to be equally helpful and she can’t manage people’s expectations.
This results in fights every day. Neither is wrong. Correct handling of the issue would result in husband realizing his duty towards family comes first.
This change in belief and behavior takes time, probably years but that is what successful marriage needs – patience and tolerance.
Every Behavior Is Motivated By Positive Intention
The person wants best outcome. His behavior is always directed towards getting the best result.
So, if the husband is withdrawing from the talk, it is because he wants peace. If the wife wants to talk about the issue, it is because she wants to solve the problem. If we understand this, we will not hold on to grudges. We will be able to understand that this is the choice available to him.
When you are trying to resolve a conflict, take one issue at a time. Come up with the desired outcome and alternative behaviors to reach to that outcome. Equip the other person with more choices.
Locus Of control
Locus of Control refers to an individual’s perception about the underlying main causes of events in his/her life.
A person with an internal locus of control believes he can influence events and their outcomes. The person believes that his/her behavior is guided by his/her personal decisions and efforts.
On the other hand, someone with an external locus of control blames outside forces for everything. Individual believes his/her behavior is guided by fate, luck, or other external circumstances.
Locus of control determines our response to the circumstances.
The person with External Locus of Control feels helpless and blames circumstances (and so their partners) rather than taking action. Their expectations from others are high. (Read my article on how internal locus of control helps you)
Findings indicate that locus of control was indeed associated with marital satisfaction—the greater the internal locus of control, the higher the marital satisfaction.
Relation Bank account
Sean Covey in his book THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TEEN has used the concept ‘Relationship bank account’ to make the point of how relationships work.
According to him “You can make deposits and improve the relationship, or take withdrawals and weaken it. A strong and healthy relationship is always the result of steady deposits made over a long period.”