6 Ways To Resolve Conflict And Build A Stronger Relationship
My husband and I have a great relationship. But that doesn’t mean it’s free of conflict. In fact, we had a few disagreements on our recent weekend getaway… eek!
When we have an argument, we are committed to resolving it and making it right. However, it takes time. Over the weekend, in the tight spaces of the car, it was even more difficult to stay calm and hash things out. But we did, and we were able to have a great time together despite our disagreements.
Today I’m offering you 6 tips for resolving conflict so you can build as stronger relationship TODAY.
1- Use “I Statements”
An “I statement” frames your words around how it made you feel. It takes the focus off who’s right and who’s wrong and helps him realize why you’re upset.
“When you said XYZ, it made me feel like ______.”
“when you don’t look at me when I’m talking, I feel like I’m not important to you.”
Real life example: “When you said ‘I don’t care.’ it makes me feel like you don’t care about the problem I just shared with you.”
In this case, he meant, “I don’t care” about something specific within my problem. When I understood what he meant, I wasn’t hurt about it anymore. He realized that he wasn’t specific enough with his comment and saw how it offended me. After we were able to resolve conflict we could move on freely.
2-Give the benefit of the doubt
This can be hard to do in the heat of the moment, but try to think the best of him. Remember he’s not trying to hurt you intentionally, more than likely it’s a misunderstanding. Once you hash it all out you will hopefully see that more clearly. Why not avoid a lot more pain by assuming the best from the start?
Each person needs a chance to speak. There’s a time to bite our tongues and just let them talk. It can be a challenge to develop the skill of being a good listener, but it will take your relationship to a higher level and resolve conflict more quickly.
- Ask questions to clarify what he’s saying, which shows you’re engaged and care about understanding where he’s coming from.
- Be willing to hear criticism about yourself without reacting back. Let it sink in and process it before replying, because he may have a point. In my case, I’ve had many times that I’ve realized I had overreacted when I stopped to listen to his point of view.
- Make eye contact
- Give him your full attention. Stop what you’re doing. Don’t be on your phone. Mute or pause the TV. Stop moving around.
4- Pause the conversation if necessary
Sometimes you need time apart to think. This can be a walk in the fresh air, just going to the other room, or focusing on the kids or pets for 30 minutes before coming back to the conversation. If you feel like you’re losing your cool, come back to it later.
On vacation, you’re often in tight spaces and together 24/7. You may have to get creative to find time to your self. Take a shower, go to the exercise room, or take the kids to the park. If you’re in the car you can just have a few minutes of silence or listen to music without talking.
If you’re taking a pause, it’s good to communicate about it. Just say something like, “I need to think about this. Can we talk about it in a hour?” Or something to that effect.
These last two take a good dose of humility:
5-Be willing to admit your own weaknesses
Relationships are a two-way street. It’s almost never 100% one person’s fault. Think about how you’re contributing to the problem and own up to it.
Even if you’re only 10% and he’s 90% of the problem, admitting your part in it can help diffuse the situation. You can’t control him, you can only control you. Be the first one to do the right thing and he will hopefully follow suit.
6- Forgive him
It’s hard to forgive, especially if the other person isn’t sorry. Forgiveness is a choice. Sometimes I want to forgive but I am holding on to my anger so it seems to hard. I have to ask the Lord to help me have the strength to forgive.
Sometimes I’m so mad I don’t even want to consider forgiving at the moment. In those cases, I ask God to make me willing to forgive. That’s the first step. Once I’m willing, I can move forward to forgive fully.
God has always been faithful to change my heart, and I know he can do so for you. It takes time sometimes but He comes through.
When we don’t forgive, we live in a prison of our own anger. The other person may not even be affected by the situation anymore, but we are suffering because we’re still holding on to it. You may have to forgive him for something that happened years ago. Doing so will set you free to lead a more joyful life.
We all want a strong relationship with the one we love. We have to realize that it takes work, time, humility, and in my opinion, a little power from above to get us through.
Conflicts happen. It’s what you do about the conflict that makes a huge difference in building a stronger relationship.
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