It is completely normal to have arguments and disagreements in a relationship every once in a while. It is not by the constancy of our relationship, but by how we approach our differences that the strength of our bond is defined. A lot of couples fail to resolve their issues and reconcile their differences, causing a lasting rift between them. In worse cases, this may lead to a break-up.
Resolving conflicts is important to making a relationship last. Dr. Michael S. Broder, a psychologist and author, gives some tips on how to manage conflicts in a relationship.
Pick your battles
Arguments have varying degrees of importance. Not all arguments need to lead to a conflict. Dr. Broder suggests that it is best to choose your battles. Weigh the issues to know if it is worth delving into and risking having a conflict, and understand how it will affect you emotionally and mentally. Recurring arguments tell you there’s an unresolved issue that needs to be settled while others can easily be settled by keeping a cool temper.
Say the Word
Dr. Broder suggests coming up with a code word that will keep you from delving deeper into a hot issue that can lead to a nasty conflict. This code word will serve as a cue that the topic must be dropped until such time that both parties are ready to approach it calmly and peacefully in order to reach a resolution. One of you can say the word to remind the other that a conflict needs to be avoided for the time being.
Refrain from mind reading
Never assume that your partner knows exactly what you’re thinking and feeling. Having this expectation will only frustrate you as your partner will never figure it out exactly mean unless you say so explicitly. Dr. Broder emphasizes the need to express your needs in order for your partner to act on it and settle your contradictions.
The sooner you resolve, the better
Dr. Broder discourages procrastination when it comes to settling an issue. However, it is also not always best to confront the issue while both tempers are running high. Sometimes you’ll need to cool off first before dealing with your problem and resolving it. Dr. Broder says that it is not enough to just say sorry and move forward without actually addressing the real problem. You need to talk about the issue and see how you can keep it from recurring.
Brainstorm on solutions
This is perhaps the best way to prove why you make a good pair. Combining your ideas will help you reach an effective solution to your problem without one dominating the other. This is also the best time to listen to each other’s suggestions on how to overcome an issue and to compromise so that you can agree on a peaceful solution.
Blaming each other or oneself doesn’t do any good in the relationship. Finding the blame will not bring about an effective solution. Dr. Broder advises to avoid putting the blame on either of the parties as it will only stir up guilt or bring vindication that only leads to pride that will impede solving the problem.
Take your conflicts as a couple positively and treat them as opportunities to strengthen your relationship and grow together. Having this mindset will enable you to approach a rising conflict with an open mind and good energy rather than letting it stress you out.
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