YOU CAN’T RUN FROM IT – AT SOME STAGE YOU AND YOUR PARTNER WILL DISAGREE. HERE’S HOW TO DEAL WITH THE TURMOIL
You’ve fallen hook, line and sinker if you’ve bought into the belief you can cruise through a relationship without a disagreement.
In fact, there is plenty of evidence that much of our conflict is caused by personality differences and values that are unsolvable. They’re inevitable!
It’s not uncommon for couples I work with to openly admit they avoid conflict at all costs.
Unfortunately, it can become increasingly icy below the surface, resentment sets in and the iceberg can grow too large for the ship to navigate around.
When supporting couples, it’s important for me to help them understand factors such as their key underlying emotions and triggers during conflict, however, here are some thoughts you can consider first:
Realise what it is you’re arguing about
It’s a value difference. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about two people who have two different thoughts and opinions.
It doesn’t mean you don’t love the other person and usually, no one has malicious intent. You’re a human being trying to get along with another human being. It’s quite ok not to agree 100 per cent of the time.
Work out how important it really is to each of you
Rank on a 1–10 scale for realistically of “How much this means to me?”
For one of you, what luggage to buy for your trip might be very important.
For the other, it might be fairly irrelevant and more about criticism, financial values or seeking to be heard.
Find out why it’s that important
If someone lists their choice to cruise around the Mediterranean versus fishing in Darwin as anything over a two or a three, there’s probably a reason. Listen to that reason.
Show empathy to your partner as well as actively listening. Avoid “correcting” their reasoning.
And it goes the other way as well. If the issue’s not important to one of you and you’re just happy to be together but they keep arguing it, find out why. What’s this really about?
Recognise you’ve been triggered
Own the reality that you might not know why it is so important – but it is!
Be present with yourself, take a deep breath and check-in with your ego that might be hungry for a feed?
Keep it focused
Don’t bring other issues or arguments into your current conversation. That goes for any disagreement, ever.
If you find that you can’t address how long you should travel for without mentioning what happened last week, guess what? That’s likely an issue you need to be addressing next.
Work as a team to find a solution
Sometimes there might need to be more of a respectful compromise.
Maybe the person who’s super invested in the holiday can be the researcher, and the other person will take control of the financial aspect.
Whatever the solution, work together and show kindness the same as you would your neighbour or friend.
Everyday value differences are one of the most common problems couples face, and in the long run, they can kind of be damaging.
Bottling up your emotions is a fast way to an even worse problem, so it’s important to get it out in the open and deal with the issue like adults.
Whether it’s holiday destinations, parenting, dish washing or even food decisions, don’t let small value items turn into big value problems.
Most of all, be timely with your communicating your grievances.
Don’t forget that respect and kindness is the foundation of your flourishing relationship. Enjoy the ride.