Why are you giving up so quickly? Why after years of being together, you feel like you’re not meant to be together? Why do you want to end the relationship? Are the conflicts in your relationship so bad, that you want to just throw in the towel? Conflicts don’t end relationships, people do.
Conflicts are healthy for relationships
Every relationship has conflicts, they can’t be avoided, and they can’t be denied. They are a natural part of a relationship, they are healthy for the relationship, and they contribute to the growth of the relationship. Although conflicts are very difficult to avoid, they are not impossible to navigate through and manage. Don’t allow conflicts to ruin your relationship; instead, use them as an opportunity to grow, to learn new things about your mate, to learn new ways to solve problems, to identify issues that are impacting the relationship, and as an opportunity to enhance your communication skills.
Conflicts determine the strength of your relationship
Conflicts can strengthen your relationship, make you want to end it, or bring you and your mate closer or draw you a part. Whether or not the relationship survives is up to you and your mate. How you and your mate manage the conflicts in your relationship will determine the success and longevity of your relationship. One of things I’m sure of, is that couples who learn and choose to manage conflicts in a healthy way, have a better chance of having a lasting relationship, and according to John Gottman, “to make a relationship last, couples must learn to manage conflict.”
It’s important to develop Godly, healthy, and friendly ways of managing conflict; however, doing so takes time, practice, work, and the willingness to work together to increase the likelihood of the relationship lasting. It’s inevitable to avoid conflict in your relationship, but one thing I’ve realized, is that when you are accustomed to dealing with conflict, by screaming, yelling, throwing things, ignoring, being sarcastic, or stonewalling, which is refusing to communicate or express emotions, this is how you will respond to your mate when conflicts arise in your relationship.
Learning to manage conflicts
Managing conflicts is not impossible, but you have to want to learn new ways of dealing with the them as they arise, you have to want to enhance your ability to communicate effectively, and you have to want to work on improving your relationship, in order to decrease the chance of conflicts ruining it. Many times, couples lose their relationship in the midst of conflicts, which is every easy to do, but there are ways to manage conflicts without losing your relationship, and to do so, you have to;
- Pray and ask God to help you communicate effectively and listen attentively. It’s important to learn to be quick to hear and slow to speak.
- Identify what the conflict is really about. For example, are you arguing because the mortgage hasn’t been paid or because you don’t have the money to pay it? The main issue is not that the mortgage hasn’t been paid, although it’s an issues, but the conflict is really about the lack of finances to take care of your family’s needs.
- Ask questions to make sure you understand what was said. Clarify what was said by repeating what your mate said, and allow him/her the opportunity to respond and let you know if what you heard, is what he/she said and wanted to communicate.
- Work together to identify 2- 3 agreed upon solutions to the problem, talk about why they are best solutions and discuss possible outcomes as a result of the solutions. Working together says it’s doesn’t matter who is right or wrong.
- Don’t say hurtful things to each other – Just because you’re upset, doesn’t give you the right to say things that are hurtful.
- Do not interrupt each other while talking. Doing so will cause more conflicts and is a sign of disrespect, and you’re saying to each other, “I don’t respect you.”
- Don’t ignore, don’t be sarcastic, and don’t blame each other. Doing so will cause more conflict in your relationship, and stop your relationship from growing.
- Accept, Acknowledge and Apologize. Take responsibility for your part in the conflict, don’t play the victim, and say “I’m sorry.”
- Take 10, if needed. Taking 10 is about taking a time-out from the conversation. It’s impossible to try to manage conflict without you or your mate getting upset, frustrated, irritated, or extremely emotional. If you have a hard time controlling your emotions, let your mate know that you need to take 10.
- Seek counseling. There’s nothing wrong with seeking counseling to learn how to manage conflict effectively. Many times couples go to counseling after they have already decided to give up and are ready to end the relationship. Don’t wait, seek counseling before your relationship gets to the point of no return.