Many couples view arguments as signs from the universe they are not meant to be together or that their partner needs to change. Reality could not be further from the truth. Spats between couples are perfectly normal and actually build healthy conflict resolution skills, which in turn strengthen the entire relationship. Fighting can be a good thing, but only if it is handled correctly. Conflict can either make or break your relationship, so the matchmakers at Kelleher International have five tips to help navigate the rough waters and make it back to the loving relationship you once had.
Natural reactions to arguments include the impulses to fight, flee, or simply freeze and become emotionally distant instead of resolving the problem. These are unhealthy responses which increase stress in your life. Stress impairs a person’s ability to read body language or communicate clearly, which is why these reactions frequently lead to grudges or blowout fights that are difficult to get over.
So, how do you prevent natural defense mechanisms from getting in the way of effective communication? Follow these simple tips to make sure you’re putting your best effort toward conflict resolution:
Ask, “What caused this?” Before you make any accusations or assumptions, ask your partner what caused the unpleasant action. Perhaps the situation was out of your partner’s control and they really wanted to please you, but were prevented from doing so. If there is a deeper fundamental issue at play, this will give you an opportunity to discuss that, too, before talking about the surface issue.
Validate emotions. Understand your partner’s emotions and always validate their feelings. Listen, restate what your partner has said, and try to understand what your partner is going through. Empathy is critical to develop a solution both of you can live with happily.
Problem-solve. Tossing out random solutions to your disagreement is counterproductive because you are likely to end up with one-sided concepts. Instead, show consideration for your partner by asking what they would do to fix things. Teamwork assists conflict resolution, so it is important to work together to develop a compromise you can both live with. Once a decision has been made, follow through with it and evaluate whether the problem has been solved.
Let go. Do not hold a grudge; once the argument is over and you have come to a successful resolution, accept that the topic has already been discussed and return to your date with an open mind and accepting heart. Understand that even though your partner has different views and habits, you still love them for all their redeeming traits.
K.I.S.S. and make up. Keep it simple, stupid! In this scenario, it’s best to streamline your language as much as possible to avoid making the argument worse than it already is. Simply state your viewpoint, the reasons behind it, and then move directly to problem-solving once you understand your partner’s point of view. There is no reason to linger on the issue or belittle your partner’s opinions; simply acknowledge that you are indeed different people, but that you care for each other and are willing to work things out.
If an argument comes up more than once or if you feel like you’re having the same argument over and over, it might be time to sit down and discuss why your previous efforts at conflict resolution have failed. Chances are time, stress or other life factors play a hidden role in sabotaging your efforts at resolving the argument. Minor life changes like going to bed earlier or adopting a different daily routine could hold the answer you’ve been looking for.
Remember winning an argument is not about being right – this is an issue of putting your differences aside and realizing the other person matters more than your own ego. A relationship is the most high-stakes investment a person could make, but the rewards are great when you respect each other enough to work through disagreements. After all, the world moves quickly – romantic relationships are meant to provide you with a lasting bond that stands the test of time. Contact us today to discover someone worth fighting for.