Conflict is Inevitable – Learn How to Use it to Bring You Closer

 

Fourteen married couples, representing a total of 390 years of marriage, were asked what tips for dealing with conflict they would share with a newlywed   couple. The common theme was “every couple has conflict!” It’s not so much about learning how to resolve it or avoid it, it’s about how to use it creatively to actually bring you closer rather than push you further apart.

 

Here is 390 years worth of relational wisdom:

 

  • When you have conflict, hang in there! All couples have fights and trying times. The exact topic may change, but the underlying conflicts are the same. Hang in there and know that you’re not alone.
  • Learn to accept and appreciate each others’ uniqueness – don’t even try to change each other – remember what attracted you to each other in the first place. Opposites attract!
  • Learn to use conflict creatively – even if it’s not resolved, make it work for you and bring you closer.
  • When you see a fight brewing, stop and do a “rewind” – take a time out and redo the moment.
  • Keep your relationship up-to-date by resolving conflicts as they arise – don’t let them fester.
  • Learn to resolve conflict effectively and lovingly – remember that all couples have conflict. Start and end by affirming your love for each other.
  • Don’t go to bed angry – process your anger before you go to sleep when at all possible. Of course, there will be times when you’re just too tired or circumstances prevent this “ideal” – don’t worry. The problem will still be there in the morning – and might not look so bad in the light of day.
  • Set ground rules for fighting fair before a conflict arises, not in the heat of the moment. Agree together to follow these ground rules. Hold each other accountable – when you see your partner not following the rules, call his or her hand at it. . . and agree to let them do the same when they see you’re not following the rules. Need a time out? Take it!
  • Practice your conflict resolutions skills on little conflicts – don’t wait until they become big fights.

We’re not victims to bad habits of dealing with conflict – new skills, habits and patterns can be learned. As with any new skill, it’s not enough to know how to do it – you must choose to do it.

Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep growing.

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