Preparing for an unexpected winter storm got me thinking about all the couples I have worked with over the years whose relationships go into a deep freeze when conflicts arise. Why does this occur? Because these couples were left totally unprepared for conflict and lacked the necessary conflict resolution skills essential for handling these conflicts.
So many times I wish these couples would have been just a little more prepared for the difficulties and conflicts ALL relationships inevitably face – it is just a matter of time. Since “forewarned is forearmed” I decided to share with you in this week’s relationship advice ezine 3 Key Conflict Resolution Skills Necessary for avoiding a deep freeze in your relationship when conflict arises.
Acknowledge the conflict exists. Sure, this might sound like common sense but believe me when I tell you how many couples I’ve helped over the years by showing one partner in a relationship that a specific issue is, in fact, a conflict. Many times it is just easier for one partner to be an ostrich and keep their head in the sand – the more difficult the conflict, the more tempting it is to avoid acknowledging it as one. Ladies, I know you can relate to this – how many times do you feel there is an issue in the relationship and your partner thinks you are just making a big deal out of nothing. If these false beliefs persist, the conflicts will never get worked through and will, most probably, just get worse.
It is imperative that both people acknowledge the fact that a specific conflict exists as the first step toward its resolution.
Communication. Couples who are not “iced” out by conflict within their relationship know how to effectively communicate with each other. Many people mistakenly think happy couples do not experience conflict within their relationship. Nonsense. All couples experience conflict but it is the way the conflict is handled that will determines the happiness – and longevity of the relationship.
Communication is an essential relationship tool that holds the key for healthy conflict resolution.
Prioritize your relationship over the conflicts within your relationship. You have the ability to make a conscious choice that whatever you and your partner are in conflict about is NOT more important than keeping your relationship together. You decide that your relationship is more important to you than proving yourself to be “right” to your partner. Do not dig your heels in and refuse to be reasoned with regarding the conflict at hand. Happy couples who are facing conflict on any given topic understand that whatever issue they are disagreeing about – this issue(s) is NOT more important than the relationship. This way, one partner in a relationship will not argue to the n-th degree to be “right” and “win” the argument at all costs – which might include losing the relationship.
Having these 3 conflict resolution skills will go a long way in preparing you for the conflicts that will inevitably arise in your relationship.
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Dr. Patty Ann