One of the things that destroys any great relationship aside a lack of proper communication, is the way areas of disagreement and conflicts are handled.
Even in cases where both partners agree and have the knowledge that communication is a very important key to handling differences, it seems sometimes they are never able to communicate in a way that makes a difference.
I would know because I have been there before.
At some point, I personally stopped bringing up issues I felt uncomfortable with, because I was tired of the constant lack of understanding between us when we tried to talk things out. Because I stopped bringing up issues, I let things simmer until I couldn’t take them anymore.
We could talk about everything, but somehow found it difficult to communicate and properly resolve conflicts
I like to believe that we all know that relationships takes work. Even the fairytale Disney movies acknowledge that there will be disagreements.
Although they make it look so easy to resolve and just maybe they should, but what they don’t tell you is that, it is not just one area you will disagree on, and also you can still have areas of disagreement while living happily ever after.
What is most important is how you handle conflicts when they arise. Sometimes in the heat of arguments you may even forget all you know is right to do.
Every relationship is different and what we would not do, is compare one to another.
You have to find the best way to handle conflicts in a way that will work for your different character and temperaments.
Here are just some really important guidelines for resolving issues in a relationship.
HOW TO SOLVE CONFLICTS IN A RELATIONSHIP
1) BE ON THE SAME PAGE
The first place to start, is ascertaining that you both want this your relationship to work.
With this mindset then, you have laid the proper foundation to handle conflicts.
2) DO NOT TRY TO HURT OR GET EVEN WITH YOUR PARTNER
See disagreements as just disagreements and do not try to look for ways to purposely hurt your partner.
e.g., you normally pick up your partner up from work everyday, but because they did not agree with you on what to feed the dog that morning, you do not go to pick them up.
A disagreement is just having a different view concerning a particular issue, and should be seen as an avenue for discussion.”
3) PLAY YOUR ROLE FIRST
It is not always fair and can be even out rightly selfish, to always expect the other party to concede to you during a disagreement.
Apologize first, it shows you care more about reconciliation, than about being right.
4) AVOID SILENT TREATMENT
Silent treatments should be avoided at all cost. It solves no problem.
Off course there are moments when you may just want to cool off on your own before facing the issue, but this is where consideration and respect for the other party is important.
As much as you are not ready to talk, you can tell your partner that you are overwhelmed and not happy with the situation and will like to take some time to cool off, just try not to let it exceed at least a day.
5) FOCUS ON JUST THE AREA OF DISAGREEMENT
Disagreements are not an avenue to throw your partners flaws in their faces. There are no perfect human beings on earth, and you have flaws too.
Your partner should feel confident that whatever secrets they have shared with you, and whatever it is you know about them is safe with you.
It does not go down well during disagreement when any party starts to feel attacked. The default response is going to be defense and that is not the right place to be when you are both looking towards reaching a compromise.
6) COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE, AND MORE COMPROMISE
Compromise is a key word for any lasting healthy relationship.
This does not mean compromising on your core values that represent who you really are, but there are somethings that can always be adjusted and accommodated.
7) RESPECT YOUR PARTNER
Respect is key.
Respect for each other will make you both handle areas of conflict properly.
8) COMMUNICATE PROPERLY
Learn how to really communicate properly. Communication is not just talking.
You have only properly communicated if the person you are communicating with, understands the message you are trying to pass across.
Always get a feedback. One way to see if you have properly communicated is to get feedback. After saying what you want to say, you can ask your partner if they understand, if they say yes, you can go further by asking what they really understand, and how what you said makes them feel.
9) TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Timing is key.
You could have two people, one is always ready to face any issue squarely as soon as they occur, while the other likes to take time to relax and reflect.
Understand your different dynamics and plan ways to work around this, while having consideration for your partners needs at the back of your mind.
You can do this by scheduling time to talk.
I was once in a relationship where the other party took days before confronting issues. I on the other hand, do not work well with not addressing issues as they come.
It was a constant struggle, because anytime something occurred, I would want it addressed as soon as possible while the other person will take days, and by then I had lost all interest. This in itself was not the issue, we were not just ready to accommodate each others differences.
A little more consideration and compromise would have gone a long way.
10) LEAVE THE PAST IN THE PAST
Try as much as possible not to dig up old wounds. Do not bring past resolved issues into the present arguments. It does not help.
It can totally change the course of the argument and make it blow out of proportion.
11) TALK IN SPECIFICS
When bringing up issues be specific and try not to generalize. It is only you and your partner that are there, speak directly and speak specifically about things.
E.g. Yesterday, when so, so and so happened….etc.
It can be hard sometimes to just sit still and listen when you are all set to defend yourself. Try to listen first to understand. Listening is a skill and it can be learnt. Not listening properly leads you to make assumptions.
Things to always have in mind during disagreements
1) Your way is not always the right way. Be flexible.
2) Sometimes you may need to agree to disagree.
3) Your partner is not the enemy.
4) The words you use are very important. Use words like ‘I’ instead of “You”.
5) Do not cuss or call your partner names.
6) Never intentionally try to hurt your partner.
7) Some disagreements you think are so big now, might not be in retrospect. So ask yourself if its really that important to wreck your day.
8) Give your partner the same grace that you will like to receive.
9) Sometimes disagreements may occur as a result of some other underlying unresolved issues. Try to get to the root cause.
10) Do not argue your point just to win. There is really no winner if at the end of the day you damage your relationship.
11) Sometime you may need to pause, and come back later to resolve an issue.
12) Check your expectations.
13) Drop your ego.
14) Be honest.
15) Make sure your partner knows that you appreciate and love them.