Pick your battles is often given as advice for avoiding unnecessary conflict, but if you apply this advice to serious issues, it can be detrimental to your relationship.
Pride, bias, and defensive mechanisms prevent us from dealing with conflict in a healthy, productive manner. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are strategies you and your partner can use to effectively deal with conflict in your relationship.
When conflict arises, avoid using blameful language towards your partner as that invites negativity into the situation. Instead, try and listen attentively without interruption and then restate what was heard. Acknowledge content AND the feelings of your partner. The active listening process lets the sender know whether or not the message they sent was clearly understood by having the listener restate what they heard. The listener does not have to agree, they repeat what was said and reflect the feeling expressed.
- “I heard you say you are feeling ‘out of balance’, and enjoyed the time we spend together but that you also need more time to be with your friends... and you want to plan a time to talk about this.”
- “If I understand what you said, you are concerned because you want to go skiing next winter. But you think I would rather to go to the beach. Is that correct?”
When each person knows what the other person feels and wants (assertiveness) and when each knows they have been heard and understood (active listening), intimacy is increased. These two communication skills can help you grow closer as a couple.
If you and your partner ever feel overwhelmed by your results or the ensuing discussion, we encourage you to seek out professional support. Call us.
Consider taking an assessment or working through our Discussion Guide for Couples... that's a great place start!
Tune in for more tips next week.
Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.
#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 find a facilitator near you, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call us on (02) 9520 4049.