As much as we hate disagreements and conflict in our relationships, they are almost impossible to avoid. In fact, if you aren’t having any kind of conflict something is seriously wrong. Either one of you is too afraid to share your opinion. Or, one of you is keeping the other one shut out and that’s a whole different conversation. But, we’ll save that one for another day.
Right now, I want to help you understand why conflict is so important for your relationship and to give you 3 techniques to handle disagreements successfully.
How Conflict Can Be Healthy
Conflict in a relationship isn’t just inevitable, it’s actually healthy for the relationship’s growth.
We’ll for one… it makes you feel better.
It’s good to release that pressure and anxiety instead of keeping things bottled up. The key is to let it out (respectfully, of course), handle it and move on.
Another reason conflict is healthy is because it gives you a deeper look into how you both really feel about a particular topic, subject or situation. Some couples are together for so long that they start to think they’re each other’s replicas, but they aren’t. It is important to maintain your individuality and sense of identity in a relationship. You are different people, with different backgrounds, different viewpoints, different genetic makeup, and different everything! ☺
Conflict reminds both of you that you are unique individuals. And, if you let it…great ideas and solutions can come out of conflict.
Those are the benefits of conflict. However, what makes disagreements an ass chap is how two people with unique views of the world handle them. Therefore, I want to make sure you’re prepared for the difficult moments ahead.
How to Disagree in a Healthy Way
Below are the top 3 steps I recommend for you to use when handling conflict with your partner…
Step 1. Face Your Disagreements Head-On
As soon as things get heated, do you try to avoid it? While I do believe in allowing a “cool off” period when emotions get high, I don’t recommend using that as an excuse to dodge the topic all together.
It’s best to face your disagreement head on; that way, it’s not a ticking time bomb waiting to explode unexpectedly on your partner.
- One of the actions you can take when you’re feeling angry or cornered are to take a serious of deep breaths. This will give you time and headspace before you say something you could regret later.
- Secondly, establish a safe word that both of you can use when one of you isn’t feeling heard or angered.
- Most importantly, stay with it. Don’t let the conflict get swept under the rug. But, don’t beat a dead horse either. If you see that you’re not getting anywhere, agree to revisit it again at a later date.
Step 2. Avoid Sentences That Begin With “But”
You’re probably thinking, “What does the word ‘but’ have to do with anything?” Trust me, a lot. In a sentence, the word “but” usually comes right before criticism. For example, “The chicken tastes great, BUT you added too much salt.” Or, “You put the kids to bed on time, BUT you didn’t brush their hair.” That pause in the sentence that comes right after the praise and right before the ‘but’ braces the other person for criticism. This usually just devalues the praise all together.
Try this… Flip the sentence around. Tell them exactly what you’re thinking right off instead of trying to soften the blow. Example, “The kids went to bed without their hair being brushed, but I’m so impressed that you got them to bed on time. You’re awesome!” This leaves them with a positive taste in their mouth. Next time, they’ll happily remember to brush their hair just for those extra points!
Step 3. Be Aware Of Your Words
You never want to come across as demanding or critical in a conversation because that won’t get you anywhere. So, be mindful of the words you use and how you say them.
Start off by letting them know what you’re getting ready to talk about, as this will remove the element of surprise. Then take the pressure off them by letting them know that your feelings about the situation are what you want to discuss.
For example, instead of saying, “You’re not initiating enough sex with me anymore. Why do I always have to initiate with you first?” You’d say, “I want to share with you how I’m feeling about our sex life lately.” This takes blame off of them, creating a safer and vulnerable environment for them to listen and interact.
Disagreements will inevitably pop up.
But, if you apply the 3 tips above, you can work out your differences with no love lost.
If you’re experiencing challenges in your relationship and starting to feel a wedge growing between you and your partner, grab a copy of my #1 best seller, Relationship SOS. It will give you the blueprint to get your marriage back on track.
Now, I want to hear from you.
- How do you normally handle conflict with your partner? Does it work?
- Which one of the techniques above are you going to start using first?
Share with me in the comments below!