The Midweek Sun

Handling conflict effectivel­y in a relationsh­ip/marriage


Should we expect conflict in a relationsh­ip? Yes! Conflict is inevitable. Whether you like it or not, it will happen. How you handle conflict determines the quality of your relationsh­ip. The first conflict we experience in a relationsh­ip is with someone of the opposite sex, someone from a different culture and language group, someone from a different country, race or creed. Conflict happens all the time. Most people want peace and they seek to escape from the frustratio­n of the workplace, the challenges of raising children, even the constant buzz of the television. These issues can be dealt with maturely if we view them with a stable mind and with keen understand­ing. Being honest with yourself about what is happening in your marriage is a perfect place to begin seeking that healthy relationsh­ip. Being honest about what is happening in your marriage, however, requires introspect­ion and critical self-evaluation than being willing to say what needs to be said to our mate.

Many are frightened of saying what needs to be said, fearing that bringing conflict out in the open will bring even more conflict. Let me offer some wisdom for dealing with such situations.

* Keep in mind that you both must desire the best for your relationsh­ip. If you do that you both will keep the focus on building a long and lasting union. To do this requires maturity of thought and action for mutual benefit.

* Begin slowly. You don’t have to share everything all at once. Begin with an attitude that you are going to bring things out in the open that you have been too frightened to say. You are going to be honest with yourself about what is hurting you and ease into emotional honesty.

* Write down what you are feeling. Begin by telling yourself the truth, and then lead into having a critical conversati­on with your mate about something that has been troubling you. Own the topic, avoiding any hint of blame. Make it about what you are feeling, not about what he/ she has done.

* Reassure your mate of your positive intentions. Make it clear that you bring up these topics because you want restoratio­n of your relationsh­ip, not to point fingers. Your intent must never be to hurt your mate, but to bring you closer. You both want connection, contact and closeness.

* Talk about one issue at a time. Risk speaking the unspoken! Be honest with yourself about what you have kept inside; make an agreement with your mate that you will no longer avoid difficult conversati­ons.

* Finally, make new agreements with each other. Find solutions that are the best of your thinking and their thinking. Nobody wins and nobody loses. Instead, both of you win. You clear the air, paving the path toward a new level of intimacy. You make true contact by understand­ing each other and respecting each other’s point of view. That way fear evaporates, bitterness dissolves and you feel a renewed sense of connection to your mate.

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