Every marriage has its ups and downs. Although it’s upsetting to admit, conflicts are bound to happen. Whether they are due to differences in expectations or the peculiar habits of your spouse, it takes a conscious decision, strength and commitment to amicably put an end to them.

Disagreements aren’t always a bad thing. While conflicts aren’t avoidable, it’s how you choose to act that will determine whether your relationship progresses or gets stuck. Take steps to ensure that you and your spouse are both dealing with conflict through openness.

Learn to communicate effectively with these 3 steps.

1. Identify the Real Source of the Argument

Most times, conflicts arise when expectations are not met. Your differences are magnified in marriage and as the years go by, constant bickering over small issues could signal a need for emotional distance. In prolonged arguments, the real source of the conflict often becomes obscured. Here’s how successful couples do it right – they’re never afraid to get to the root of the conflict by addressing their taboo topics. Author and relationship expert, Diane Sawaya Cloutier, also believes that when these topics remain unaddressed, any small triggers can potentially cause a big fight. To prevent a conflict from escalating, never run away from getting to the root of the issue, even when it seems terrifying.

2. Learn Through the Experience of Past Conflicts

Never keep score of your past fights. For a marriage to succeed, it’s important that you don’t keep a list of all the times your spouse made a mistake. To truly learn from past conflicts, you have to forgive and let go. The fact of the matter is, it’s impossible for anyone to be perfect. Successful couples don’t guilt-trip because they know it has a corrosive impact on the relationship. Once the root cause of the mistake has been identified, work together to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. This means giving without expecting something in return. 

3. Be Mindful of Your Boundaries

Treat your spouse with respect, even in an argument. Successful couples can agree to disagree. Using hurtful language or expressing contempt is never acceptable. The way to healthy conflict-resolution is valuing each other’s thoughts and feelings, which cannot be achieved through aggression. While conflicts can get emotionally charged, it’s important that you set ground rules for arguments. This ensures that you and your spouse can reach a common ground, healthily and effectively. 

A happy and healthy marriage starts with communicating effectively through the storms. Ultimately, never forget that you and your spouse are on the same team, wanting the best in your relationship.