May 7, 2024

How Relationship Conflicts can Bring us Closer Together.

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If you’ve never had a healthy conflict with your partner, you might think that all conflicts are bad.

We likely don’t want to look our partner in the eye when the sh*t hits the fan because we both know that it’s going to get messy.

That was what my partner and I had thought for many years. We’re either on good terms or we’re not. There are no maybes, no what ifs, no middle ways. Conflict means bad. Period.

And it was bad—many, many times. We would get defensive and overwhelmed and our conversation would end on a bad note. In a nutshell, we didn’t understand that we had been presented with a great opportunity.

The problem was not the conflict; it was how we had handled it.

Eventually, we have learned by trial and error. Now we have constructive—not destructive—arguments.

You see, having small fights in a relationship is extremely normal. We can’t avoid them, but we can learn to navigate them properly.

Having said that, we need to be on the same page when it comes to how we handle our relationship conflicts.

Are we arguing to enhance our relationship or are we arguing to prove a point?

When we ask ourselves that question, my partner and I argue differently:

>> We change our tone of voice (we even remind each other to keep our voice down and be respectful).

>> We respect our differences and put ourselves in each other’s shoes.

>> We don’t suppress our emotions and express ourselves more appropriately.

>> We recognize the childhood traumas at play and help each other to heal them.

>> We look for the trigger and work on the solution.

>> We discuss misinterpretation of words or actions.

>> We openly talk about our needs.

>> We examine closely what’s wrong and discuss how we can minimize similar conflicts in the future.

>> We discuss the new things that we might have learned about each other or each other’s pasts.

These are some of the steps that I apply in my relationship when things go south. You might take different steps, but remember that the whole point of having conflicts is to learn something new about yourself or your partner and to enhance your relationship.

If you keep those two things in mind, your conflicts will naturally take a different turn.

Last but not least, I would like to add that the pressure of not having arguments can also have a detrimental effect. We must always be prepared for any unexpected incidents because, again, it’s normal; arguments are bound to happen.

What matters is knowing how to fight, how to repair, and how to get back on track.

~

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