No doubt when you get into a relationship, sooner or later, conflict will arise.
During the honeymoon phase, you might think there is nothing your partner could say or do to upset you. You’re on cloud nine, and you can’t imagine saying or doing anything to upset your partner either.
However, it’s natural for conflict or disagreements to happen at some point in the relationship. The honeymoon phase is wonderful, but life shows up and at some point, you both begin to see each other’s flaws and idiosyncrasies. This can cause conflict.
What will you do when conflict arises?
It is a good idea to think about this ahead of time, as when you’re in the heat of the moment, logic tends to jump ship. I’ve had plenty of people tell me their alter ego trumps during an argument, but later they feel terrible.
I encourage you to have a plan on how you will contend with conflict. You may even want to discuss this with your partner ahead of time.
Open-minded, honest communication is huge.
If you determine now how you will deal with the contrast and stick to your plan, you should be able to work through it without sending off too many harmful grenades.
If you're not that great at communicating with each other, make it your aim too better your communication skills now, before conflict happens. If you tend to be the type that shuts down when you get into a situation where there's conflict, there's opportunity for you to learn how to remain open and speak your truth.
Bottling things up inside usually tends to just cause a big blow up later. If you and your partner have a tough time communicating, read some books or watch some YouTube videos on the topic together.
You could even get a counselor and learn some excellent communication skills at couples counseling.
It’s common for angry feelings to get aroused in a relationship now and then.
When you get angry, you can react, or you can respond.
Reacting looks like screaming, “You’re such a jerk!”.
Responding means pausing for a few moments to gather yourself. It’s looking at whatever the issue is or whatever happened, contemplating, and processing. Then, you respond from a logical space, rather than a negative emotional space.
Some people count to 20. Some say, “I’m leaving the room to process and we can have a discussion about this when we calm down.” Do what works for you.
Allowing time for cool down is a good idea. Sure, your partner may be at fault. Maybe they’re an hour late and didn’t call you to inform you of their time issue.
Or maybe they embarrassed you in front of their friends. No matter what they’ve done to anger you, if you react in an angry or hurtful way, the situation may escalate and not be resolved.
Learn to take a few minutes or hours to cool yourself down and gauge the situation. I think that you’ll find that if you and your partner do this, you’ll be more apt to work through issues instead of exploding and hurting each other intentionally or unintentionally.
There are plenty of blogs, books, and YouTube videos on the topic of conflict resolution.
If you and your partner are having trouble getting through conflict without causing each other pain, take some time to educate yourself. There are plenty of free videos on YouTube that will take you step by step how to resolve various types of conflict.
You can watch them on your own or with your partner. Try out different skills and see what works for you.
Forgiveness goes a long way in a relationship.
It's quite common to get into arguments with your partner or take out negative emotions on each other. I'm sure many of us can relate to projecting anger or frustration onto our partners, especially after a bad day.
Choose now to forgive one another once you resolve a conflict. Look at each other in the eyes and truly apologize. Aim to do better in the future.
I’m not saying to forgive and forget if there is any type of verbal, emotional, or physical abuse going on. That’s a different scenario. If you’re being abused, contact the Domestic Violence hotline to get some support.
I’m talking about common, fairly normal conflicts that arise in relationships, like saying something in a rude tone, or acting immature when you’re having an argument. Apologize and forgive.
Journaling has long been a therapeutic technique to help out with all sorts of issues.
Putting down your thoughts and emotions during or after conflict in a relationship can help you learn a little bit more about yourself, your partner, and the relationship in general. You could write down things like what happened, how you handled this situation, and how you could have handled it differently.
You can also write down your goals as to how you would like to handle conflict anytime it arises in your life. You can go through your journal from time to time to see the progress that you've made or areas that still need improvement.
If you think about conflict resolution ahead of time, getting through conflict will be easier.
If you end up having trouble resolving issues, consider reaching out to a couple’s therapist for some help. You and your partner can talk to the therapist about what's going on and learn some valuable tools for working through conflict as it arises.
The work and time is worth it, and so is your relationship!
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