Are you arguing during the wedding planning process? Conflict in relationships is something 78 percent of couples try to avoid. However, in a national survey of fifty thousand couples, the most significant factor which made the difference between happy couples and unhappy couples was whether or not they both felt understood when working through a conflict. Couples who are happy in their relationships are ones that resolve their conflicts.
Obstacles To Resolving Conflict
One myth that stands in the way of using conflict to grow closer is the expectation that conflict should not exist in a relationship and something is wrong if it does exist. Conflict is actually an inevitable aspect of relationships. Love is still present in the relationship.
Another obstacle to resolving conflict is denial. Research has shown that 78 percent of couples go out of their way to avoid conflict. This only makes things worse. Conflict exists for a reason; it carries a message or a lesson for us. The sooner we address it, the sooner we grow as individuals and as a couple. The longer we avoid it, the more the issue festers and grows.
Another issue that stands in the way of resolving conflict is attacking the person rather than the problem. We also tend to let old problems go unresolved. They will keep returning and lead to more anger and pain. Handling anger improperly is another big factor that can interfere with the healthy growth of a relationship. One way we mishandle it is by suppressing it, which leads to bitterness and resentment. Holding it in can also lead to personal anxiety, depression, and other illnesses. Suppressed anger can make a person cynical and passive-aggressive, resulting in unhappy relationships.
Resolving conflict is one of the most important keys to a happy relationship. If couples can master the art and science of conflict resolution, they multiply the chances of a successful marriage. One step in the direction of doing this successfully is to actually welcome conflict when it occurs. Conflict is an opportunity to grow closer to your partner. If you use it that way, it is easier to embrace it when it occurs. Conflict isn’t a competition, and surprisingly it also isn’t a problem to be solved. It is an opportunity to learn and grow. When your partner is angry or upset, you have stirred feelings and it is a sign this person truly cares about you and the issue. Understanding these feelings will help you connect at a deeper level. Don’t concentrate on being right or wrong; rather seek to connect by listening carefully to what is upsetting your partner and how they feel. Reflect that back to them so they can say with confidence that you understand. Once they feel understood they will stop being defensive and will open their heart. Have the strength yourself to be vulnerable and face your own fear. This will lead to greater intimacy.
Tools For Resolution
- Focus on behavior instead of the person
- Keep arguments private
- Be able to laugh at yourself
- Take your partner seriously
- Be respectful
- Don’t generalize and deal with the present and not the past
Here is a good system to follow:
- Make an appointment for your discussion, even if it is right now.
- Define the problem specifically, and write it down.
- Make notes on how each of you contribute to the problem
- Make a list of what you’ve done in the past to solve the problem
- Brainstorm at least ten ways to resolve the conflict today, no matter how silly it may seem.
- Discuss the options you’ve come up with, and eliminate ones that you know won’t work.
- Agree on one option to try and how each of you will work toward the solution.
- Make an appointment to discuss your results and plan to reward each other for contributing to the solution.