Wouldn’t it be great if you and your partner just got along all the time? Great fantasy! The reality? Conflict will show up even in the least expected moments.
Rather than wishing conflict away, focus on doing conflict well. Successful couples are those who move through conflict maturely.
Let’s get clear on how we define conflict. Conflict means a disagreement between you and your partner. When addressed poorly, these differences can polarize you.
It’s also inevitable. Conflict will arise in most categories: parenting, sex, money, in-laws, career, social situations and more.
Below I’ve shared three tips that help you use these disagreements as a bridge instead of a divide.
Tip #1: See Conflict as Mobilizing
When we fear conflict, we tend to avoid it. Conflict doesn’t go away. In fact, avoiding it actually makes it silently fester. Shift your perspective from fear to curiosity. View conflict as an event that helps you both take action.
Conflict provides information about your partner that you need to know. Can you become curious about your partner in moments of disagreement? Can you welcome conflict as necessary in order to help you and your partner know each other better?
Shifting perspective will help you view conflict as a means of greater connection.
Tip #2: Be Constructive Not Destructive
I recently created a short video on this topic HERE. Do you act disgusted by your partner? Roll your eyes, name call, blame, ignore, fight to win, insult and/or provoke your partner? If so, you are stuck in a destructive response style.
In order to get constructive with conflict, first practice tip #1. Mobilization prompts you both into action mode. Once you see it this way, it’s easier to shift into constructive conversations.
This includes making healthy eye contact and staying present to your partner’s perspective. It means you can take a deep breath when the conversation feels hard. This also helps you speak your truth while seeing the good in your partner and listening with an open heart.
Tip #3: Apologize Correctly
Strive for the first and second tips but know, you won’t always get it right. Imperfect union, remember? So, when it goes wrong, know how to apologize.
My kids and I made a video on apologies HERE. Yes, my kids! I borrowed a method that they’ve learned at school on how to apologize and guess what? It’s a two step process! Most of us only say “I’m sorry”. What’s missing is how to soothe our partners after we’ve hurt them. We share the follow up question you need to ask in our VIDEO.
Use these three tips as your conflict guide during this New Year. Let it help you be intentional about your relationship. Truly strive to Love and Live Better!