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Vital questions: Do you fight, flee, freeze or fawn?

What’s your worst trait? While this may sound like an odd way to begin an article with marriage tips, you probably already know each other’s best traits! You know enough about your beloved to forsake all others and commit to them for the rest of your life. You know the importance of nurturing communication, spending quality time together, praying together, forgiving each other, being honest and discussing finances.

What don’t you know about each other? What parts of your personality have you hidden from your partner? What masks are you wearing until the wedding night? A few questions to help you answer those questions are: What is your attachment style? How do you react when your needs aren’t met? When stressed, do you fight, flight, freeze or fawn?

Secure, anxious, avoidant and disorganized are attachment styles that reveal more about us than we share with most friends. These styles were developed as children and impact how we interact with others throughout our lives. Understanding your styles and how to interact with each other will save you many arguments and hurt feelings throughout your marriage.

What is your innate response when stressed?

➤ If you’re a fighter, you aggressively engage your partner to continue a conversation.

➤ Those who run from an argument are in flight mode.

➤ If you can’t move or respond and go silent, you freeze.

➤ If your natural tendency is to try to please the other person to avoid conflict, that’s fawning.

You will experience stress throughout your marriage, whether from household renovations, parenting, career, finances, or pets. Knowing your response will help you to remember that you’re on the same team and work together to find solutions.

If you haven’t taken a conflict resolution class, do so together as a couple. Understanding how to have disagreements without harming your relationship is priceless. You must also know how to heal after a hurt to move forward stronger. It is much easier to mend a fracture than a break.

I believe God ordained marriage and wouldn’t call us to mediocrity, so if your marriage isn’t reflecting God’s love for your spouse, you have work to do. Utilize the copious tools provided to fortify your marriage.

If you’re just starting, invest in building a solid foundation to withstand the trials and tribulations you will face as a couple. Most marriages don’t begin with thoughts of managing infertility, troubled teens, poverty, job loss, food insecurity, natural disasters, physical, mental or emotional challenges, or long-term disability issues. Your marriage will be full of amazing moments that exceed your wildest expectations of bliss. Some of the above unforeseen challenges will either unite you and mold you into the people God created you to be or tear you apart and cause you to question everything. Allow God to work through your spouse to help you transform your worst trait into a strength to reflect God’s goodness.

Ty Salvant can be reached at



➤ “How We Love” by Milan Yerkovich and Kay Yerkovich

➤ “Hold Me Tight” by Dr. Sue Johnson EdD, Helen Keeley, et al.

➤ “The 80/80 Marriage: A New Model for a Happier, Stronger Relationship” by Nate & Kaley Klemp

➤ “The Catholic Couples Bible: Devotional” ISBN 1556654480

➤ “The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It” by W. Chris Winter

➤ “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Gary Chapman


➤ “Time for Us 75-Day Marriage Challenge” by Ty Salvant


➤ Willwoods marriage retreats


➤ “Small Things Often” by The Gottman Institute

Originally published in the June 22, 2024 issue of the Clarion Herald.

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