You can try to avoid conflict by tamping down negative emotions and brushing seemingly minor issues under the rug, but at some point, they will come back to bite you. Many times this is in the form of a blowup that is completely disproportional to whatever seemed to trigger it. You end up fighting not only about the topic at hand but ten other previously unaddressed issues as well.
As uncomfortable as it can be, the best way to avoid this situation and grow as a couple is to deal with issues as they occur. Studies have shown that it is not whether a couple fights that predicts divorce, but how they fight.
Here are some tips for fighting respectfully and making an argument an opportunity for growth and resolution:
6. Take your partner seriously. While you’re cracking those self-deprecating jokes (and hopefully cracking up your partner), make sure you are still demonstrating that you’re taking your partner, the issue, and your relationship seriously.
Leave the past in the past. Focus on the present. As tempting as it is to bring up that one time, 3 years ago, when your partner (fill in the blank), it is not productive to dwell on things that happened in the past.
Stay calm. Often easier said than done, but the old saying still works: take a deep breath and count to ten if you feel on the verge of losing your temper. Your partner will be more likely to consider your viewpoint if you speak calmly.
Keep your arguments private. Discussing your private conflicts with family and friends can seem like a good way to get a fresh perspective on the problem or (let’s be honest) get someone else to see it your way, but drawing in a third person can often cause even more trouble. The issue is between you and your partner, not you, your partner, and your mother/best friend/sister-in-law.
If you cannot agree… agree to disagree and respect your partner’s feelings and opinions.
You might be surprised by the increased sense of connection and intimacy in your relationship after working through an issue by “fighting fair”. Conflict can be constructive!
#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.
For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich