Conflict in a relationship is actually quite normal. Everyone has conflict every now and again, and it’s perfectly okay, but how you handle this conflict is what counts. There are several ways to handle conflict, but applying the most appropriate methods for each situation is imperative to ensuring that the conflict doesn’t turn into an outright fight.
Here are a few tips:
Open Communication: without communication nothing can move forward. Each party must be willing to calmly express their opinions, ideas, and feelings about the situation. In addition, each party must be willing to openly listen to their partner’s opinions, ideas, and feelings about the situation. It absolutely must go both ways. By the way, if your partner is talking and all you’re doing is thinking about what you’re going to say next, then you aren’t listening to him or her.
Choose Your Battles: not every battle should be fought. If you believe that this is a conflict where it wouldn’t really matter either way, then let your partner have this one. Neither partner should ‘win’ every conflict or battle. Remember, relationships are about compromising and making your partner feel loved and special.
Show Respect: as with open communication, each person should always show respect to his or her partner. A relationship (i.e. a marriage) is about being on the same level as each other, not about one person being above the other. Respecting each others feeling is important to handling conflicts.
Come Back Later: sometimes things can get heated when discussing sensitive issues or topics. If the discussion becomes heated or if you are on your way to an argument (or worse), just walk away. You can always come back to the discussion later on to continue the discussion in a calm manner.
Do Your Due Diligence: maybe neither of you have actually researched the issue. Maybe neither of you really understands the full ramifications of your decision. In these situations both partners should conduct some research on the issue and figure out together what the best options are and move forward from there.
Keep The End Goal In Mind: in many cases both partners forget about what the end goal really is all about. Figure out, together, what the end goal is, the best way to achieve that end goal where everyone is happy with the outcome. Negotiation may be necessary here, but remember to show respect and communication. Don’t focus on the past; that won’t get you anywhere. Focus on the present and the future. This will take out past issues, and even possible unresolved issues out of the situation.
Resolution: understand that not every conflict will be resolved. There will be times where something just plain has to be done and it may not be done the way you want it. This may leave you with unresolved feelings about the conflict. Make sure you don’t hold on to resentment or any anger from the conflict. This will only hurt you in your relationship in the future.
Relationship Counseling: in some cases, getting relationship counseling will help both parties work toward conflict resolution with a mediator who can help ensure all concerns are heard and worked through.
Ensure that you look at each conflict as a separate issue and not as something stemming from a previous issue. This can (and will) hurt you in your relationship in the long run. And always keep in mind that just because there is a conflict or issue in your relationship, that your relationship doesn’t have to be over because of it.
How do you handle conflict in your relationships? Do you have any other tips?