Guest blog: Cory B. Honickman
Conflict: kuhn-flikt verb; A serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one: “the eternal conflict between the sexes”.
Conflict has the power to tear apart even the most in love couples, and it also has the power to bring people closer. Lets face it, every relationship has conflict and if it doesn’t, that would be a cause for alarm. With no conflict, a relationship can get stagnant and even boring. Each member of a couple brings their own feelings, thoughts and opinions into the relationship and the way those feelings, thoughts and opinions are received by the other will determine the impact conflict will have on the relationship. If you don’t know how or don’t like dealing with conflict, don’t be too hard on yourself because most of us have learned that it’s “bad” and generally feel very uncomfortable around it. Here are some tips to follow when confronted with conflict that can help you and your mate to become closer in the face of conflict:
Don’t “blow up” and spew your conflict out in public
Schedule some time each week to discuss things that are on your mind that you would like to be addressed. If you want the conflict to bring you closer, it is very important that you and you partner are alone or with a mediator and not being irresponsible by making other people feel uncomfortable in the presence of your conflict. This also leaves the door open for others to add their 2 cents, which could be detrimental.
Hold off on discussing any issues while you are entrenched in the emotions surrounding them
Emotions are very powerful and they can sometimes drive us to do and say things that we later regret. Take some time to gather your thoughts and get how you feel straight before you express them. It is very difficult to “hold in” your feelings when they happen, but being able to control your emotions is a sign of emotional maturity that is crucial for relationship success.
Learn to communicate your issue in a loving way that your partner will understand and be able to receive openly
To do this, you should use an active listening approach. That means, when your conflict talk time is scheduled and you have thought through your feelings, in a calm voice tell your partner your thoughts. Then when you are done, ask them to repeat what you have said in their own words so that you know they understand. Once you know they understand, let them know how you would like to handle the situation… never present a problem without suggesting a solution.
Praise one another for being open and honest
Acknowledging that you’re partner has been open and honest shows gratitude and respect, two important ingredients for relationship success. Although you may not master these techniques right away, being grateful for trying will fast track both of you to having all that you want and need.
Relationships are difficult enough as it is… if you and your honey can work out conflicts, then you have a chance to have an amazing and incredibly intimate relationship that others will learn from, appreciate and respect.Lots of Love, Cory B. Honickman, MSW, CLC Doctoral Candidate http://wherelovehappens.com http://www.