Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have the perfect relationship? Where you and your partner knew each other so well that there was never an issue? Me too… but I know that’s unrealistic.
No matter how long you’ve been together or how well you know each other; conflict is a common part of all loving relationships. In fact, some might say that conflict helps you to grow closer – that is, if you survive the conflict.
The Combative Wife:
I was eating lunch at a local café and I couldn’t help but overhear a woman talking to her friend about her relationship breaking down. Apparently, the husband had lost his job and was currently receiving unemployment. Since then it had become difficult for her to pay the bills on her own and they were falling deeper into debt. For the first few months she’d been understanding of her husband’s status and simply trusted him to find a job, though over time the woman had become furious because even though he was actively looking, he was spending much of his time sitting on the couch playing Xbox. She felt as if he could do more. So she approached him….
While approaching him was not the problem, she proceeded to go into detail about how she approached him. She stood in front of the television, blocking his view, and simply said, “You’ve been on that couch too long. I’m doing all the work around here and you’re just playing. I don’t need another child, what I need is a grown man who cares about his family” A few days later, he decided to go and stay with a friend and she couldn’t understand why….
Here are a few facts:
50% of all marriages are reported to end in divorce. On top of that, a report from examiner.com shows that approximately 65% of all couples argue over finances, with financial issues being one of the contributing factors to divorce.
These statistics already put the odds against them, yet her approach made things even worse. This scenario is largely about finances, the advice on relationships I’m about to give you can apply to any issue you’re dealing with in your relationship. So, let’s get to it.
Don’t Get In Your Feelings:
Most women (not all) are emotional in nature. We feel and we act on it. We see a sad scene in a movie and we begin crying (no matter how many times we’ve seen it), we see a cute baby and we immediately get “baby fever”, we hear a rumor that our guy may be cheating on us and we’re ready to slash his tires and burn his clothes … okay, not all women are that extreme, but we can emotional thinkers and reactors.
This causes a bigger problem when trying to communicate in a loving relationship. I believe most women mean well, but for some reason we can’t control our lips from flapping the instant we “feel” the urge to.
You see, feeling emotional does not necessarily mean that you understand your feelings or that your feelings are rational. In the above story, the woman was fearful and scared of being swallowed up by debt and was worried about the welfare of the children. She felt like she was carrying the load and would like husband to be more involved in the family and to try harder to support her. Though she didn’t express this – she made him useless, incapable and wrong.
So if you learn nothing else from this post, learn that it’s important to take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and then address the issue based on logic instead of emotion. Understand what your feelings and emotions mean – don’t let them control you or override the real issue. Get inside of them.
Tips to Resolving Relationship Conflicts
Okay so we got the emotion out of the way; let’s discuss some ways in which you can handle relationship conflicts a little better.
- Pick and Choose Your Battles
Before going up to your guy and letting him have it you might want to really evaluate the matter. Some things just aren’t worth arguing over and our emotions get the best of us, causing us to make a mountain out of a molehill. When something begins to bother you ask yourself, “Is it really worth addressing?” If your guy is leaving the toilet seat up but he’s been doing this for the past year that you’ve been together, is it worth an argument? If he has a friend that you don’t particularly like but he never forces you guys to be around each other, is it worth it? Sometimes you have to stop and think about it from all angles before bringing it to the table. Many times, you’ll find that it’s not worth the energy and there will be no need for an argument.
- Address The Matter in a Few Words
One of the first bits of advice on relationships I will offer you is to use as few words as possible when expressing how you feel. First of all, we already know that the moment we say, “We need to talk”, our significant other is going to cringe. They’re already on the defensive side, so going on and on about how you feel will only make him tune you out. Instead, state the facts and in a few words express why it made you feel the way you do.
- Listening is a Part of Communicating
When I used to argue with my significant other, I wouldn’t let him get a word in otherwise. I would ask a question and before he could answer it all the way I’d be adding in more questions and facts. The fact of the matter is, if you’re not going to listen to him talk, what was the point in bringing it up in the first place? After you’ve stated what you had to say in a few words, allow him to talk. No matter what he says that gets up under your skin, just allow him to speak.
- Don’t Bring in Outsiders
I think many women are guilty of this one (at least I have been). You get so upset that the conflict did not go as planned and you vent to others. Sure it might just be your mom, sister, or friend, however, what you must understand is you’re bringing someone from outside of your relationship into it. Even if all they do is give you advice on how to handle the matter it can make things worse. Now every time your significant other comes around your friend or family member, they’re making faces at him for what he did or didn’t do. He feels uncomfortable and believes you can’t be trusted. It creates more conflict. Venting is okay, but be careful who you vent to and how as it can backfire.
- Know When the Problem is Bigger Than You
There are relationship issues that cannot be fixed with a conversation and compromise. Some issues are deeply rooted and if not resolved could mean the end of your relationship. In these instances, it is important for both of you to understand the severity of the matter and get help.
When the problem is bigger than you, you need to reach out to someone for help. Talking with a relationship therapist or counselor is one way to handle this. Having an unbiased third party opinion can often help you both to see things in a way you wouldn’t have otherwise. It allows you to openly and freely discuss the topic without extra emotion or tension, and in many cases can resolve the matter.
No one likes to have conflict in a loving relationship. Conflict however, is a natural part of the process. It’s not what you’re disagreeing about that matters most, but how you get through the challenges determines whether the conflict makes you a stronger couple going forward.
The best advice on relationships and conflicts I can offer you is to choose your battles wisely, be an effective communicator, abstain from outside opinion (unless it’s healthy), and when things get too rough speak to a professional. Following this advice is sure to help your relationship flourish.