How to Remain Level Headed in Times of Conflict
What happens when the reality of marriage is suddenly unveiled? It is not what you expected, not what you signed up for, not what you dreamed of since you were little, and your partner disappoints you because he/she does not meet your list of expectations and aspirations you created for “THE ONE”. At this point, bickering commences… You want your partner to make you happy, fit your ideas and expectation of what your marriage should be like, and you forget the fact that they too have their own set of ideas and expectations. Who made you happy before you got married? No person on earth has the ability to supply you with any form of sustainable happiness. You are the key to your own happiness. The day my husband and I started sacrificing the very nature of a happy marriage consisting of love, respect, understanding, acceptance, compromise, friendship, and kindness was the day, we realized that our marriage took on destructive properties. Why? Because we allowed our fragile little egos to manage our differences and resulted in ineffective, recurrent power struggles, and a competition for winning the most arguments.
Recovering from disastrous habits.
Although we implemented many mutually invented and agreed upon tactics, I decided to share three of those with you in this article.
- Discover who you really are and take responsibility for your own happiness and well-being. Only when we truly know and understand our authentic selves, our personalities, emotions, actions, etc, are we able to understand our partners. Marriage is not a mathematical equation.
- Two halves do not equal a whole, it is much more intriguing and mystical for such oversimplification. Infact, only two authentically complete individuals equal that true completion you were searching for your entire life.
- Make a conscious choice to shift your focus from what you want, to what your partner and marriage needs (take note: I did not write “wants”).
- Catch your partner doing something right, and express your gratitude towards their efforts. Learn to appreciate the small things that often go unnoticed.
How to remain level headed when conflict arises.
- Learn and understand your body’s reaction to anger. When that warm rush of blood flows to your head, turning everything on its way to the top to different shades of red, while accumulating pressure for an uncontrolled explosion, tell your partner you need some time alone, and that you will discuss the matter at a later stage (“at a later stage” refers to, within the next 24 hours). In the event that you argue with your partner while in the aforementioned state, remember that your brain is operating in fight and flight mode to ensure illusionary survival. Your brain’s abilities to employ creative, compassionate, innovative, loving and respectful strategies,is inactive during survival mode. Your brain cannot operate in both!
- Leave the shouting, swearing, name-calling, silent treatment, sarcasm, and temper tantrums as “to-do list” for developing your child’s emotional intelligence.
- Listen to understand. Stop working on your defense argument while your partner communicates with you. When you do not fully understand, respectfully translate and communicate their words in your own words, and your partner if your interpretation were correct.
- Be mindful of your body language and facial expressions. Your partner notices your hidden motives and intentions through the cues they receive from your unspoken language. Always keep those motives and intentions, pure, constructive and mutually beneficial.
- Always be sincere and conscientious while conveying your viewpoint. Lead the conversation with love and respect.
- I often see this with women and please note that I am not generalizing. During an argument, women tend to feel the need to elaborately communicate their whole argument, continuously add examples and feelings, and then while they are at it, they connect other events, they feel might be relevant to their current argument, all at once. Wow, even trying to put all of that in one sentence is confusing. Men are solution focused and are much more comfortable to proverbially, tackle one problem statement, together with its feelings,at a time. Men tend to group and link information, which might seem similar to their understanding, which often results in misunderstandings. Men, lead and lovingly guide your woman to break down her problem statement, into manageable and understandable parts. Ladies, thank your partner when they do this, he is not interrupting you nor is he being disrespectful. He is attempting to understand you and your argument.
- Keep in mind that your partner does not necessarily share your reality, because the human brain interprets its experiences through an associative method to interpret and perceive new experiences, using your unique frame of reference. Our brains, therefore, are cognitively biased and due to numerous influential factors, your perceptions, expectations, and assumptions might not always be quite as accurate as you thought. Discover the truths about your actual reality, by exploring each other’s viewpoints. You will be amazed at the outcome and humorously amused by the process.I dare you to consciously, and deliberately adopt these habits. Do not take my word for it; you can experience it for yourself. Oh, do not forget to share your discoveries, by commenting on this article.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.