What is it about conflicts that cause couples to want to give up and walk away from their relationship? I tend to believe it’s the inability to effectively communicate with each other when conflicts arise. Conflicts provide opportunities for your relationship to grow and for you and your mate to learn new ways to communicate with each other. When you love one another, respect each other, listen to each other, and let go of the need to be right and to have the last word, and put your ego to the side for the sake of the relationship, you increase the chance of your relationship surviving. Just because you have conflicts in your relationship doesn’t mean you have to give up or end the relationship, you can still love each other and at the same time, deal with the conflicts as they occur.
Learn to communicate effectively
Many times, conflicts become more of a tug-of-war of who’s right and who’s wrong when and it’s really not about being right or wrong, but it’s about working together to manage the conflicts effectively and appropriately, without damaging the relationship, it’s about how much you respect your mate and having the ability to display your respect, it’s about learning to communicating effectively and being quiet and listening while your mate speaks, and it’s about demonstrating the ability to love your mate unconditionally, even if you don’t agree with what is being said. You also have to remember that just because you disagree, doesn’t give you the right to interrupt your mate while he/she is explaining their perspective of the situation.
Conflicts bring out the best and worst parts of relationships
Conflicts bring out the best and worst parts of a relationship, and it’s important to not have an “it’s all about me and my needs, and what I have to say” type of mentality and attitude, when conflicts arise in your relationship, this causes more conflicts and says to your mate, “you don’t matter.” Whenever you and your mate work together to manage the conflicts in your relationship, you increase your chances of have a lasting relationship. One of the most important things you can do in your relationship, is to listen to understand, and not listen to give a reply. Why? Because, listening to understand, says I care, I’m concerned, I respect you, I respect what you have to say, and I value your opinion, views, and beliefs; it also communicates that what’s being said is important.
Focus on solutions
Oftentimes, conflicts turn into “you hurt my feelings, I can’t believe you said that, why did you say that, and why are you talking to me that way.” This usually occurs when there’s been a shift in the way you communicate with each other, and the both of you stop focusing on the problem, and you start focusing on how you feel and start expressing your emotions and responding out of your emotions, instead of continuing to focus on the problem and working towards a solution; but, when your feelings are hurt and emotions are high, it’s difficult to do so.
Also watch: What Is a Relationship Conflict?
Avoid saying hurtful and mean things
However, you can’t avoid conflicts in a relationship, but you can decide how you will respond to each other, when they arise. It’s important that you and your mate are very careful about how you respond to each other. You want to make sure you are not being harsh, mean, or saying hurtful things, and that you are expressing your thoughts, feelings, and concerns, in a respectful way where you’re not offending each other.
How you respond to each other is important and determines the success or failure of your relationship. The good thing is, you can keep loving each other, you don’t have to end the relationship, and you can have a lasting relationship, but you have to remember to always;
Listen attentively to each other
Keep an open heart and mind
Be respectful to each other with your words and tone, when communicating
Respect each other’s viewpoint, beliefs, values, and opinions
Work towards understanding each other’s needs and wants
Every relationship has its share of conflicts, and it doesn’t mean you don’t love each other or that you should end the relationship, but it does mean you should work together to improve your relationship.
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Dr. LaWanda N. Evans specializes in helping couples build and maintain a healthy, loving, lasting, strong relationship. She teaches couples how to communicate to be heard and understood, how to manage conflicts and find solutions to the most difficult problems affecting their relationship, using the Gottman Method Couples Therapy approach. She provides relationship counseling, education, and development that focuses on improving communication, managing conflicts, affair recover, and premarital counseling and education. Dr. Evans isa Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, Healthy Relationship Expert, Relationship Therapist, Speaker and Author.