It's the Holiday season, and there's so much joy and happiness all around.
There's beautiful music playing on the radio, heartwarming movies on the TV, homemade cookies and treats at work, and even cards in the mail from old friends. It's a Wonderful Life, or at least we want it to be this time of year.
Is your home life wonderful right now? Are you and your partner connected deeply and in love? Or, do you struggle and find yourself in battles over the smallest things?
There are no winners when you have unresolved conflict in your relationship. You both end up losing! The good news is…..You’re not alone and we have tips to help!
Many couples struggle with conflict resolution, and it’s perfectly normal. Conflict can even occur more often during a busy time of year, such as the Holiday season.
Most of us were never taught the necessary skills on how to disagree with our partner that helps the relationship instead of harming it. Nor, were we taught how to listen to understand, validate and empathize with our partner so we connect deeper.
So, knowing we don’t have the skills necessary, it’s understandable that conflict would be quite common. However, the plus side to this is Imago Relationships’ belief - conflict is an opportunity for growth in a relationship.
In Making Marriage Simple: Ten Relationship-Saving Truths, written by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph. D, they discuss what happens during conflict and why we respond the way we do. While conflict may feel uncomfortable for most of us, they believe it opens the door to a whole new perspective and ultimately a much healthier relationship.
So, what would happen to your relationship if you understood that conflict is actually an opportunity for growth? Or, that conflict can actually help you and your partner connect deeper?
Looking at conflict in a whole new way can help you take that leap needed to try something new! These 5 steps below just might be what you need to put you on your journey of healthy change.
5 Tips to help with conflict resolution:
Think Before Reacting – time is your friend in responding. No need to get reactive and respond quickly. Go for a walk, or read a book to think about your response first.
Listen Actively - seek to truly understand your partner before you respond. It helps to listen with curiosity when they speak.
Focus on the Problem, not the Person Speaking – there are feelings behind the words they are sharing. Try to focus on the problem, and not the way in which it is being delivered.
Accept Responsibility for your Part – placing blame on your partner will only escalate a conflict into a deep rupture, that will need to be repaired. If that occurs, you will both ultimately lose.
Look for Mutual gain – look for resolution that benefits you and your partner. Look for an option that takes you both to a healthy place in the relationship for today and into the future.
So, if you’d like to lessen the conflict in your relationship and remove the blame, shame and criticism to even enjoy the Holidays – give these 5 tips a try the next time you feel a disagreement coming on.
If you can see the benefits of working together on conflict to turn your relationship into a deeper connection, you’ll be amazed at how wonderful your lives can really become. It might just become the relationship of your dreams!