Conflict is a normal part of life, and by extension, relationships. Some may even say that conflict is a necessity in relationships since it’s rooted in our ability to have individual opinions. You’ll find that no matter how much you love someone, you’ll eventually have to disagree with them on several pertinent issues.
The challenge with conflict is that it can be challenging to manage, especially with couples that are just starting. In this article, we will be looking at five surefire ways to handle conflict within a relationship’s confines. The tips shared here aren’t only applicable to romantic relationships. You can also use them in resolving disputes with friends and family:
At the beginning of a relationship, it’s natural for couples to perceive conflict as a bad thing. After coming off months of high-impact emotions, it’s easy to view conflict with a sense of foreboding. This antagonistic attitude toward conflict is, however, the wrong way to approach it.
Conflict often arises as a result of having a deeper, more intimate relationship with a person. In the first few weeks and months, both parties are likely to be on their best behaviors. As time passes, they let their guard down because they feel more comfortable around their partners. This is typically when the conflict begins.
Understand that having conflict in your relationship only means that you have important issues to resolve and not that you’re incompatible. Certain studies have even shown that couples that often argue within the first three years last longer, with a happier relationship.
In a healthy relationship, conflict should always be approached with open communication. You should make sure your partner is comfortable talking to you about whatever issues they may be having and vice versa. Keeping open lines of communication is essential for every relationship, particularly during times of conflict.
Always stay respectful.
Disagreements happen because we feel strongly about a particular issue in a way that differs from our partners. Such intense disputes can often lead to the coloring of the lines between their person and the issue at hand. It’s essential always to be able to make that distinction.
Regardless of the issue at hand, you should always try to refrain from throwing jabs, physical or verbal. Any kind of verbal or physical assault is sure to ruin the conflict resolution process and make it even more difficult.
Try to keep a calm voice while talking and make sure to address only the issue at hand.
Find the source of the problem.
Resolving a problem starts with first identifying it, and in relationships, this isn’t always easy. This is typically down to a difference in communication methods. While some people are direct when describing their relationship challenges, their partners may be less so, preferring to take the long route and talking about their feelings. In such cases, you must be willing to take time to listen to your partner and carefully understand where the root of their hurt is.
In other cases, apparent disagreements may be a result of a deeper issue that may take time to uncover. For instance, your partner may be upset that you’re spending too much time with friends when they want more time with you. If you figure out the root of the problem, i.e., spending more time with them, you might be able to create a better, more inclusive solution.
Find grounds for compromise.
Compromise is one of the most important tools used in conflict resolution, even by giant corporations. Although it’s not something many people like to associate with, if you want to make your relationship work, you should get used to it.
Making concessions lets your partner know that you care more about them than you do about the issue at hand. It’s also a healthy activity that shows you’re capable of letting things go. In a compromise situation, both parties have to find a middle ground and concede some advantage. Think of it as a win-win situation. You get some of yours; they get some of theirs.
Partners that share similar faiths can also use their shared beliefs as grounds for compromise. Never Thirsty has a lot of biblical answers for common disagreements in relationships. Holding onto an opinion that you both respect as the truth is also a kind of compromise.
Consider if the situation can be resolved.
This step was placed last because it can sometimes result in our least favorite outcome – a separation. Sadly, not all disagreements in a relationship can be resolved. After trying to have an open and respectful conversation with your partner, making concessions, and doing every other thing by the book, you have to consider the possibility that it just may not be working out.
One of the best questions to ask in this situation is this – is this issue more important than my relationship? The answer to that is often the most telling in whether the conflict can be resolved or not.
The truth is, many of the issues you’ll face in your relationship won’t pass that simple test. You may find out that most problems aren’t relevant to the course of your lives and relationship, and you can just let go of them.
However, disagreements over significant life issues like education, work, belief system, and kids can shake you to your core. You might have to carefully evaluate if making the required sacrifices will be worth it in the long run.
Keep in mind, however, that relationships work as a result of sacrifices from both sides. If you have a partner that refuses to put in the work toward resolving conflicts, then you might be in an abusive relationship. If you feel the situation can’t be remedied, the best option is to part ways. You can always stay friends after.