Dealing With Conflicts In Relationships
Disagreement and conflict are normal in any relationship.A marriage vow or a promise to live together in harmony is not a guarantee of bliss.Yet, conflict can be a serious problem for some couples who find themselves continually arguing.Such couples may find that their arguments end up with bad feelings and with very little resolved.These bad feelings, in turn, provide fuel to heat up the next round of conflict.
Conflict itself is not the problem.The problem comes with the way disagreements are handled. Common traps that people run into are
1. who is right and who is wrong
2. who wins and who loses
3. what is fair
4. whos to blame
Since almost all disagreements have to do with opinions, priorities, values or judgments, there is no method to evaluate what is right and what is wrong. No one really gets what they want by being right or wrong.
Our society seems to teach us that winning is the main goal in our interactions and couples take that to their conflicts. The need to win seems to come from wanting to have more power. Most of the time resentment is the only consolation prize, which in the end is no prize at all.
When a couple argues over what is fair, the result can lead to whining, bickering and feeling cheated out of what is really wanted. Solutions need to only work, even if theyre not fair.
Couples who only focus on whose fault a problem is, end up avoiding the real issue in an effort to blame. Guilty or righteous feelings are not helpful to either party.
Redefining blame needs to come in terms of your own behavior. To achieve this, you and your partner shouth both complete the following statements and discuss it later.
If I have to admit it, one way I have wanted you to be different is
Something I think you want me to change is
Some ways I know when you are unhappy with something about me are
If I had the power to change you in any way I chose, I would
By defining the problems largely in terms of your partners behavior, you keep the problems unsolvable and frustration is inevitable. You only get short-term recessions.
Instead, express how you want each other to be different. Tell each other how it would change the relationship for the better. Then repeat to one another what you are hearing and what is new about that for you. Finally, share how you are reacting to the changes you are being asked. This would facilitate the beginning of new patterns in your relationship.