The Marriage Preparation Course (Part 4)

Resolving Conflict

 

Conflict happens to us all the time and it gets more frequent when we enter a marriage. That’s because we’re all different and selfish by nature. In our marriage preparation course, Wei Jien and I learnt how to identify and deal with our differences. When we did the personality test during the first session of TMPC, one of our weaknesses was our inability to resolve conflicts effectively.

First, we identified the type of anger we have – rhino (explode) and hedgehog (bury). We both have rhino and hedgehog tendencies, but in general, I’m more of a rhino and he’s more of a hedgehog. Next, we were encouraged to look for solutions to the problems we faced.

The important thing we both learnt in this session was never to use words like, “You always…” and “You never…”. Many couples are guilty of making this mistake and it is going to take time (and effort) to change this. We’re still guilty of making this mistake, but hope to overcome this in time. Prior to this, either one of us would have give in to the other whenever we faced conflict. This “I win, you lose” situation got us through the years, but it was hardly ideal. Now, we sit down, talk and listen to one another, and identify the issue. Once we agree on an action plan, we work on it together.

Marriage involves sharing everything. We’re moving from “I”, to “us”. It’s no longer my money, my car and my home. Instead we have to look at things from an “us” perspective – our money, our car and our home. That’s going to be difficult for many people, especially if you’ve been living independently for a long time. We also addressed our attitude towards money – Wei Jien and I are both ‘savers’, so that made things a bit better. It’s also good to discuss about who will manage the finances and do a yearly forecast of your expenses. Obviously, Wei Jien will be doing that.

With conflict, there’s bound to be hurt. That’s when we need to learn to put away our pride and say sorry. Asking for forgiveness and giving forgiveness is the only way a marriage can move forward. It makes sense, although I find it difficult to just forgive and move on in general. Yes, I’m one of those people who keep unresolved issues buried until shit hits the fan.

This session, together with sagely advices from our support couple (I’ll talk about that soon) gave Wei Jien and I pointers on how to deal with our differences. We’ve reduced interrupting each other and attempt to be more reasonable when it comes to finding a solution – the “US” solution. Not quite there yet, but it’s only a matter of time…

*Read our wedding blog HERE.

Read: The Marriage Preparation Course (Part 3)

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