Do you have disagreements with your spouse? If you do, congratulations! That means your relationship is alive and kicking. All happy couples have conflicts. If you didn’t have any, I’d be worried for you. That’s because when you don’t care enough to disagree, your relationship may just as well be dead.
In this post you’re going to learn how to express disagreement in a structured and non-threatening way. If you can handle complaints (and even criticism) without feeling attacked, you can turn any disagreement into a connecting exercise that only makes your relationship stronger.
Unresolved Conflicts are a Ticking Time Bomb
We tend to look at conflict as a big, hairy beast that’s going to eat us alive. Because we are so afraid of conflicts, we tend to sweep small problems under the rug. They are left unattended.
Problems that were once solvable (kittens) become difficult problems (gorillas) when both partners become increasingly resentful and entrenched in their position. It’s important to resolve conflicts as they come along. Why?
An unresolved conflict is like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. When it does, your anger washes over your spouse with everything that has accumulated over a period of time. If such explosions happen regularly, your partner will back off from communication and start avoiding you. Or they will leave you altogether. Neither is good.
It’s Not About the Fight, but How You Fight
But, conflicts don’t necessarily have to be bad. It’s how we look at them. If you’re in a relationship, you have conflicts. Conflicts just are.
What’s important is how you react to the conflicts.
The good news is, you can control your responses. Doing so, you will grow as a person and learn a very valuable skill not many people possess.
Steps to a No-Big-Deal Conflict
Successful couples know how empowering it is to be able to safely express negative feelings while not harming their relationship, no matter how difficult the issue is. Here’s how you can stay connected during an argument too:
- Approach your spouse in a non-threatening way.
- Handle negative feedback and criticism gracefully.
- Prevent a meltdown when things start getting out of control.
- Look for a win-win solution, even when it seems there is only a win-lose outcome possible.
- When you screw up, apologize the right way (and not like a jerk).
By following these steps, you will discover that you can in fact have a conflict without your heart pumping like crazy, your face turning red, and your hands sweating. Instead, you’ll discover that it can be a connecting experience. Once you know how to resolve conflicts in a constructive way, this gives you an enormous extra boost in your confidence.
Your ability to solve conflicts successfully will not only positively affect your marriage, but also your relationship with your children, friends, co-workers, business partners, employees, and basically any human being. Most of them, anyway.