5 Tips to Time-Proof Your Marriage: Eliminating The Stress of Conflict

NoraConflict is a natural, inevitable part of human relationships. The way we handle problems, more than the problems themselves, can often be the element that separates a failed from a successful marriage. The only negative aspect of conflict is that it tests our integrity and resolve to face it, and thus we can be found lacking.

Why do we get into this dangerous fantasy of looking at our new love relationship as a conflict-free haven? Why do we need to imagine that we will be spared the harsh realities of confronting a loved one?

In this view that now I offer you, I turn the situation upside down and propose that we humans need to learn in life through the experiences that others offer us. We create different experiences for others to learn, also! So, marriage is one of the most important associations we can work in along our lives, other is the connection with our relatives.

Wise people know that they will be engaged in confrontations here and there; they even prepare for them, trying to minimize the possible damages and maximize the learning.

What is most pathetic is finding grown up people who never prepared or accepted this view of “inevitable conflict,” and feel so scared of confrontations that they deny differences, or escape into sickness, or take other avoidance avenues like drinking, or doing drugs, etc.

In short, if you are prepared and accepting the inevitable differences to be had with your loved one, you will avoid the sad fear of handling disputes; and having the look of sheer impotence and fear of confrontation that sends a very poor message. People can differ, and we all accept that; what you can’t do is to project an image of such a poor understanding of human relationships that you are unable of talking about the things that separate you from your loved one.

If you chose avoidance of problems as your main strategy, you are not learning how to confront with love and respect, and you are preparing the relationship for more pain in the way to divorce.

According to the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, habitual avoidance of conflict is the No. 1 predictor of divorce. Strong relationships are earmarked by a couple's ability to handle disagreements in a positive manner. How is it possible to fight in a positive way?

What is the main challenge in a marriage? Quite a simple task: Learning to fight fair: with respect for each other’s needs and caring simultaneously for the relationship, so to do constant healing work.

People are in relationships to learn from each other, and thus they are going to have inevitable differences. The fantasy that love relationships have to be always harmonious, is a very sweet creation of our wishing heart, but it goes against all reality indications.

The purpose is to become closer with our loved ones, and as we get closer, the discrepancy between their images as we dreamed them, and who they really are begins to be devastating for us.

Then, we are so shocked by the differences that we add another fantasy: the idea that if we get to know our partner as s/he really is, then we can’t love this person…Both fantasies are devastating for relationships, if we let them prevail over our basic need to connect.

Having a fight in our most intimate relationship does not necessarily mean that love is absent. In fact, conflict can be beneficial to a relationship if it helps to clear the air, dissolve confusions and misperceptions, and re-establish the link in a healthier way. That is exactly the end point of this model of conflict as a reciprocal learning experience!

TIP 1: When you think about conflict, what images come to mind?
Often, the first stumbling block to resolving conflict is a faulty perception of conflict itself. When couples see conflict as negative, and therefore avoid talking about it, is because they have only negative images of it.

According to a national survey of 21,501 married couples,1 the five most common stumbling blocks to resolving conflict are:

  • Disagreeing on the issue of who is responsible for a given problem.
  • Feeling that differences never seem to get resolved, because lack of skills.
  • Going out of the way to avoid conflict with each other, using denial, etc.
  • Differing about the best way to solve disagreements.
  • Having huge disputes over unimportant issues, fighting for control.

TIP2: What distinguishes a happy couple from an unhappy couple?
Based on the same national survey, the most important difference was whether the partners feel understood when discussing problems. Not only do happy couples feel understood, but they also feel able to share feelings and opinions and being listened to with respect from the other, during confrontations. Happy couples are also much more likely to agree that their disagreements get resolved and that they have similar processes about how to resolve conflicts.

TIP3: How does a couple constructively resolve conflict?
Conflict skills are easy to understand and practice. Here are a few suggestions for improving your ability to resolve conflict:

  • Accept conflict as a normal part of a close relationship.
  • Take time to openly listen to the concerns of your partner.
  • Never negotiate in moments of anger. Take a break.
  • When negotiating, do not bring up past issues.
  • Focus on the relevant and current issues and express both positive and negative feelings.
  • Do not blame each other, but focus on the problem.

Be sure to confirm that what you understood is what the other person expresses

TIP 4: Avoid “winning" by intimidation, aggression or any kind of emotional or verbal abuse.

Because the approach you use to resolve conflict will affect the outcome, the more constructive your approach the greater the possibility of success.  Also avoid silencing the other side using guilt, reproach or humiliating expressions. These power tactics only destroy the relationship in the long term.

TIP 5: When fighting, Accept and Respect the Rules of Engagement.

Fights should not be about winning over the other..They should be together against a problem.
The result of constructive conflict resolution is often increased intimacy and trust in each other and your relationship.

Do you want to learn the Fair Fighting Technique?

It will develop your skills to conflict-proof your relationship!
http://www.positiveconflicts.com/FairFightingForCouples

TEST YOU CONFLICT ATTITUDE:

What are your couple strengths when it comes to resolving conflict? Set aside some time with your partner to talk about the following questions. Explore ways to turn areas of disagreement into strengths.

  • Are you able to compromise when necessary?
  • Do you ignore issues that may cause conflict?
  • Do you allow minor issues to become major problems?
  • Do you have different ways of dealing with issues?
  • Are you generally able to work through issues and resolve them?
  • Are you patient and able to listen carefully to whatever the other person has to say?
  • Do you have a basic feeling of respect for your partner’s feelings and perceptions?

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

* Are you Ready to Completely Transform your Relationships?
“Turning Conflicts into True Love,” will teach you how transform your conflicts into learning and growth, ending pain and grief and taking your relationships at levels that you never dreamed of!
Go to: http://www.myrelationshipsaver.com

* How worried are you about improving the quality of your life, if you are in a relationship with a passive aggressive person? It can be seriously damaging your self-esteem and reducing your capacity for productivity and joy. Visit http://www.passiveagresive.com to find solutions.


About the Author

NoraNora Femenia is a well known coach, conflict solver and trainer, and CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc. Visit her blog and signup free to be connected to her innovative conflict solutions, positive suggestions and life-changing coaching sessions, along with blog updates, news, and more! Go now to http://www.creativeconflicts.com.

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