Unfortunately, children pick up on conflict and feel less secure when there are marriage problems, says marriage management expert. It is important to reassure children after arguing with a spouse and it’s vitally important to get marriage help when needed.
Reassure Children that Mom and Dad Still Love and Respect Each Other in Spite of Arguments
After arguments, children need parents to affirm their love for each other. Because of this, it is important that parents don’t just make up in private. If the children witness an argument between their parents, they also need to witness Mom and Dad apologizing, kissing, and making up.
Marriage management analyst adds it’s not necessary for children to know all the details about the conflict, but it is best if parents don’t shy away from acknowledging that they do have conflict from time to time, but that such conflict doesn’t indicate a lack of love and respect for one another.
If there are siblings in the family, a parent can talk with the children about the fact that they sometimes fight with their brother or sister, but they would be very unhappy if anything ever happened to them. This can reinforce that conflict in relationships sometimes happens even when there is great love.
Children Need to See Parents Using Conflict Resolution Strategies
Marriage management expert warns children learn by example, and the home setting is the perfect place for them to learn about managing conflict. In a perfect world, children would never witness marital conflict, but since the world is less than perfect, marriage troubles provide an excellent opportunity to teach children conflict management skills.
Allow children to witness a calm discussion of differences, healthy negotiation on points important to each parent, and apologies and expressions of forgiveness when necessary. Parents who handle conflict wisely in front of their own children are more likely to raise children with healthy attitudes and good conflict management skills.
Work on Creating a Healthy Marriage Management
Even though conflict is inevitable in every marriage, it’s important to be diligent in investing in the health of the marriage, particularly for married couples with children.
If conflict is more than an occasional problem, it is important to seek out marriage help. Marriage management counseling is a worthwhile investment not only in the marital relationship itself, but it is also an investment in the emotional health of children.
Marriage management counseling retreats and regular date nights are a good idea for ongoing marital happiness and should be practiced regularly by parents who want to live out a healthy marriage in front of their children.
Ideally Mom and Dad should communicate openly about such events with their children as a way to demonstrate that the commitment to marriage is strong.
It is impossible to avoid all conflict in marriage. When parents argue, reassuring children that Mom and Dad love and respect each other, demonstrating excellent conflict resolution strategies, and doing what it takes to create a healthy marriage are all ways to raise children who feel secure in the love their parents have for each other.
Is It Time to See a Marriage Management Counselor
Couples often wait until their marriage is nearly intolerable before they seek out the support of a marriage management counselor. Getting help early on can help couples recognize where they’re getting snagged in conflict so they can learn new ways of interacting.
Frequent bickering, often over trivial things
Unfair fighting, often attacking the other person
Avoiding contact with your partner
Not enjoying time together
Little or nothing to say to each other
Disagreeing about important goals and values
Damaged trust, or suspicious feelings about partner’s behavior
Less sexual intimacy
Infidelity (an affair)
Preferring time apart to time together
Choosing the Right Counselor
The most important criteria to consider when choosing a couple’s therapist is the level of comfort, rapport and trust you feel with her. A counselor’s job is to manage the atmosphere of security, safety and hope in the counseling session, and create a “container” for truth-telling and the healing of wounds within and between individuals. This is intensely personal work, and it cannot happen unless the couple seeking counseling feels safe and respected.
A marriage management counselor should also ask questions that challenge her client to think about things in new ways and to learn more about himself and how he thinks and behave in relationships. The counselor’s job is not to “fix” an individual, but rather to provide an environment, dialogue and information designed to help people “fix” themselves.
Getting the Most Out of Couple’s Therapy
It’s up to the client to make the most of counseling sessions.
Take time to complete it or practice the new skill.
Set aside time each day to try out new ideas or techniques learned in the counseling session.
Have weekly, mindful dates, where the focus is on enjoying each other without discussing issues, problems, kids or finances.
Taking an active role in the process of therapy dramatically increases its effectiveness, and couples should experience a difference in the way they interact with each other. Change won’t happen quickly, but if it’s not happening at all, it’s important to tell the therapist.
The therapist’s methods in working with a couple should remain fluid so that she can change focus if necessary, but she’ll only know it’s not working if her clients speak up and let her know.
No relationship is without occasional disagreements or conflicting perspectives. How couples negotiate these differences greatly influences the environment of comfort and safety in a relationship.
Marriage management counselors can help partners navigate these challenges in a way that nurtures the relationship rather than breaking it down. When couples nurture their relationship and are proactive about its health, they are better able to achieve a deeply satisfying, lifelong connection.
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