Relationships are never a smooth ride all the way, sometimes you get offended, and other times you are the offender. Learning to keep it all together during these trying times is what will keep the love between you and your lover burning for a long time. If you never have fights, then something isn’t right, but if the conflicts come you have to fight fair.
As a young child, the picture of love that usually shows up in our imagination would be that of a Cinderella story where you fall helplessly in love with prince charming and live happily ever after. You never get to imagine having fights or getting upset at some of the things your prince might do or say. Growing up and falling in love for the first-time changes all of the fairy tale expectations and you realise it’s a different ball game in the real world.
Some couples who eventually get a divorce may never have had fights in front of their kids or even showed signs of ever disagreeing. They master the art of sucking it all in and wearing a smiling face to derail other people especially their children. It is perfect to keep your disagreement away from third-party eyes and ears, but it is not OK to bottle it up and not talk about it between yourselves. Bottling up anger will only lead to further resentment and eventually tear the two people in a relationship further apart.
Because humans always have needs, you will discover that the majority of the reasons for conflicts in relationships are unmet needs. Both emotional and physical needs can cause a relationship strain, and that is how most become distant from each other even though they sleep on the same bed every night and wake up together.
- Do Not Be Afraid of Disagreements
It’s ok to have misunderstandings, in fact, it is necessary and very healthy for the growth of your relationship. When quarrels come, see it as an opportunity to know each other better. You should seize the chance of a conflict to express your feelings to your partner; it helps them understand the vulnerable side of you.
- Attack The problem, not your spouse
When matters that lead to conflict comes up, do not use abusive words or try to make your partner feel less important to prove your point. Understand that your partner is not your enemy and the problem at hand should be solved most civil and loving manner possible. When you say mean things in the heat of the moment to your partner, you may not be able to take them back, and that could create resentment.
- Stay focused on the present issue
Resist the temptation to refer back to old issues when you are trying to make a point. If you keep digging up old trash, you might end up straying from the main topic and even forget what you are fighting about because of how much arguments will creep out of nowhere. If you want the problem resolved, you should avoid the urge to keep saying “I told you so”. Your partner knows you are right, but he or she might be too angry to admit it at the moment.
- Identify the issue
Every time you have little arguments does it all end up pointing at a particular thing? Say for example; You went to dinner with the new male neighbour and stayed out late and you weren’t taking your calls. You came home and apologised without giving a reasonable explanation as to why you weren’t answering your calls and that day passes. Two days later you both argue about who left the kitchen tap running and somehow your husband refers to the other night. A week after, you have another argument about who put what where and he refers back to the other night yet again. The little fights are just topics, the night you went out is the issue you have to deal with.
Many petty conflicts revolve around an unresolved issue, and if attention is not paid to the underlying problem (the unresolved issue), it will continue to rear its ugly head through minor topics and cause further damages to your relationship.
- Do not trivialise the issue
When your significant other is hurt by something you did or said, never make them feel they are overreacting. The issue is essential to your partner that is why he or she is bothered about it, and you have to respect their feelings. In many cases, problems that are trivialised often lead to more significant issues that go out of control and lead to breakups. If you genuinely love a person, you make them feel loved, understood and emotionally secured. Downplaying topics of concern to your partner is not a healthy way of conflict resolution.
- Know when it’s time to say goodnight!
When the argument gets intense, and you notice you guys are not making any headway, it is ok to keep quiet and take a break. Wait till the next day or maybe a few hours to let off steam then attempt to resolve the dispute again. Chances are your significant other may have realised his mistakes and will be in a better frame of mind to apologise and make up with you.
- Never suggest a breakup
Yes, you may feel like you will be better off without your partner but trust me, that feeling will always come to you no matter who you are with. People from different backgrounds view issues from a different perspective and because you feel you are correct doesn’t guarantee that there’s no sense in your partner’s point of view. So never let the anger lead you to dish out threats of calling it quits. Every time you say you want to break up or get a divorce, you are defeating the purpose of conflict resolution and giving up on something beautiful.
Your partner might also get the feeling that expressing themselves could cause them to lose you and that will lead to a disruption of sincere communication between the both of you.
- Apologise and mean it
Saying sorry can heal a wound, but you being sincerely sorry can both treat the injury and leave no scars. When you say hurtful things, or you realise that you are at the offending end, please do not hesitate to offer a sincere apology and avoid repeating the same mistake over and over. If your partner is wrong and won’t apologise, make them understand that you had forgiven them even before they annoyed you.
- I LOVE YOU
After every fight, remember to reassure your significant other of your feelings for them. Hugs can go a long way to calm the rage and fix the situation. Saying “I love you” reminds them despite the fight they still mean everything to you and that is not about to change.