Positive Conflict is a meeting of the minds where Sarah and I have a difference of opinion, we work through it and the family is enhanced because of it. Trust is integral - I believe Sarah has good reasons for believing what she believes so I respect her thoughts. I believe she trusts me, too. We then choose a path to walk down and commit to that path, rather than second guessing a decision made.
Negative Conflict is a meeting where Sarah and I have a difference of opinions which turns into a power struggle. Instead of trying to improve our family, I'm trying to prove that "Matt is right and Sarah is wrong." I don't trust her thought process and second guess her decisions, leaving doubt and guilt.
Here's the thing with marriage: we're in it together for as long as we both may live. So we can spend the next 50+ years in a power struggle filled with doubt and guilt OR we can spend them with respectful disagreements, yet confident commitments to our decisions.
Advice for the men: give it a day.
When a conflict arises, instead of jumping into a disagreement on the spot because you KNOW you're right, say "I'd like to sleep on it, this deserves some thought." It's unfair to present Sarah with a complex argument when she hasn't had time to prepare her thoughts.