Relationships are made up of two people with different values and often different personalities. These two people can provoke conflict when not fully aware of or accepting of their differences. When I say “conflict”, I mean disagreements or different points of view. However, it all comes down to behaviors and not knowing how to manage certain situations.
Conflict is not a bad thing, as long as you are committed to the relationship and willing to work to fix it. Many times conflict can be a blessing. Why? Well, if your relationship is going perfectly fine that means someone is not being transparent. You both have the right to view things differently and to express it without hurting the other one. When conflict arises, both partners are usually being honest and voicing their opinion. However, what needs to be worked on is finding common ground.
Conflicts in relationships begin for many reasons. Before you try to fix a conflict you need to find the root cause of it. Many times people focus on the surface of the problem not the cause of it. This may for a while numb the symptoms (avoid the fights), but eventually, the problem will continue. For your own peace of mind, please be aware that all relationships have disagreements. Conflict does not mean your relationship is a failure. Also, conflict does not mean you can’t be happy. Healthy relationships grow and mature through conflict.
My advice to you is that when a conflict begins to affect you mentally or emotionally, seek professional help. Assuming that you are prepared and educated to solve all of the problems that come your way is wrong. You and your partner can both benefit from the help of a therapist or a relationship coach. You may need someone to see the conflict from another perspective.
The main causes of conflict
1. Selfishness: Too often, we are so determined to get that “thing” we need, that we forget our decisions affect others. This is true for any type of relationship. Couples often have the conflict due to the fact that someone in the relationship fails to think of the other person when making decisions. Sometimes this is done knowingly and happens often, extending the life of the conflict. Selfishness is number one on the list because when a person cannot respect the needs of others, it becomes impossible to have a healthy relationship. Philippians 2:3 (NLT). Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
2. Communication: “It is not what you say, but how you say it”. Communication is the method of getting it out there. Too often communicating in the relationship means argument, this causes tension and as a result, communication is avoided completely. Communicating the wrong way can cause further conflict in the relationship.
3. Resentment: There may be an occasion (or many) where one of the partners offends the other. When that individual fails to communicate the hurt the offense caused, he/she will keep those negative emotions in their heart causing resentment. This is where the root cause of conflict needs to be evaluated. At times the person will seem discontent or upset and will not say why. The person can also become distant, causing the other individual to think that they are not interested in the relationship.
4. Finger pointing or criticism: The most annoying thing is to be surrounded by a person who criticizes everything you do. The second most annoying thing is being surrounded by someone who claims that everything is your fault. Sometimes in relationships, this is the case. One partner accuses the other about everything that goes wrong or finds that he/she has a better way of doing things. The funny part of this is that when things do go right, that person claims responsibility right away.
5. Unrealistic or distorted expectations: Life experiences taught me that you have to build the life and happiness you want. Yes, a loving and accepting person at your side helps a lot, but you can’t force that person to make you happy. Happiness is your responsibility. Many relationships have conflicts because one or both individuals feel that their expectations are not being met. Often, these expectations are unrealistic or distorted and the person will need a wake-up call back to reality.
Ways to sidestep a fight:
These strategies can stop a fight before it starts.
1. See things from your partner’s point of view.
2. Count to 50 before you say anything incendiary. This pause will help you calm down just long enough to think better of it.
3. Don’t throw verbal bombs. Avoid put-downs, personal attacks, judgments, criticism, and blaming — as well as sulking, interrupting, and stomping out of the room.
4. Ask yourself if you can — and should — solve the problem on your own.
Ways to defuse a runaway argument:
These tension-tamers can short-circuit an argument that’s getting too hot to handle.
1. Use anger as a red-alert sign to stop the discussion.
2. Walk away and use meditation, exercise, or another pleasant activity to de-stress.
3. Reconnect frequently during tough conversations.
4. Use empathy and appreciation to stay close to your spouse.
5. And be on the lookout for your spouse’s attempts to heal or avoid breaches.
6. Soothe yourself and your spouse. Breathe deeply, slow down the conversation, and take a few minutes to review all the positive steps you’ve taken together to solve the problem.
7. Share your feelings. The more effectively you can soothe yourself and each other, the more productive your problem-solving session can be.