Relationships are meant to grow and evolve over time – and this includes overcoming conflict together. No two people in the world can agree on everything 100 percent of the time, but the beautiful thing about well-matched relationships is that our clients are better attuned to each other and are better equipped to talk out their problems, avoid extreme conflict and come out stronger for it. These eight secrets are the key to defusing almost any conflict in your relationship and can even help you and your partner build a closer bond over time.
Don’t Try to “Sell” Your Perspective
If the conversation is already tense, it’s pretty clear your partner is not buying whatever it is you’re selling. Take a step back and change your tactics. Instead of pushing one “right” opinion, open yourself up to the idea that maybe both of you are correct in varying degrees. Your partner’s opinions are just as valid as your own and should be respected as such.
Compromise and Win
You and your partner can both win even if you disagree about major topics. For example, if your date was really counting on a trip to visit family but you have business obligations, consider fulfilling your obligations and then join your partner for the second half of the trip. You might even be able to fulfill your obligations at a different time to make more time for your partner. This step is all about respect and making your partner a priority in your life.
Often even the most complex disagreements have very simple underlying causes. Try to state “your side” of the situation in as few words as possible and then allow your partner a chance to respond. If the argument masks deeper feelings try to address those first. The less you say, the more you are able to listen and make an informed decision about how to resolve the issue.
Is It Worth It?
Try to determine whether the conversation is even worth having. If the discussion involves health, personal safety, finances, or the relationship itself, then pay attention; these topics are critical. Anything else is going to be more trivial and can probably wait.
Another way to look at things involves identifying whether a negative pattern has developed or if the problem is just a one-off thing. For example, managers have to distinguish between one-time mistakes employees make and long-term patterns of problem behavior. Use the same approach to evaluate your relationship.
Avoid Problem Behaviors
Researchers have identified four behaviors that cause the most unrest in relationships. If you really want to build a healthy foundation for your relationship, put an end to:
Similarly, avoid any personal attacks that could put your partner on the defensive. Judgement, criticism and put-downs are low attacks and are simply not productive. Change the conversation to something positive and if you notice things are getting a little too heated, feel free to call a “time out” and revisit the discussion later.
Don’t Argue on an Empty Stomach
Try to avoid serious discussions in the early morning or in the hour leading up to meal time. Low blood sugar can cloud anyone’s ability to think clearly and make calm, rational decisions. Similarly, don’t fight after 8 at night. Fatigue can cause symptoms that mirror those experienced when hungry or otherwise uncomfortable. The goal is to make conversations as pleasant as possible. Make sure your partner is fed and well rested before bringing up a touchy subject.
The book 7 Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success talks about so-called “marital masters.” These are couples who, instead of “becoming defensive and hurtful… pepper their disputes with flashes of affection, intense interest and mutual respect.” These couples use humor to deflect perceived wrongdoings by their significant other or choose to give their partner the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst. This is the ultimate goal for all couples.
Remember What Matters
Be patient with yourself – and with your spouse. Not every conversation will go exactly the way you wanted, and your partner might find themselves frustrated at times, too. The point is to remember that your relationship is built on a foundation of love, trust and respect. These elements guide each and every interaction you have with each other so you can make mutually beneficial decisions. Keep your relationship in mind at all times and allow yourself the space to work through difficult decisions. You are not in this relationship alone. Our matchmaking services don’t just set up dates – we arrange introductions between two compatible people who are capable of becoming equal partners in a relationship. Take advantage of that, respect your partner’s opinions, and be confident that each decision you make is in the best interest of your relationship.
Our matchmaking services make it easy to find someone who is on your level. Discover the beauty of a lasting relationship (without all the drama) with Kelleher International’s professional matchmakers.