Saturday, December 31, 2011

Conflict Resolution



  • Stick to the problem at hand. Stay focused on the current problem, and don't accuse your spouse of “always" or "never" behaving a certain way. Putting your spouse on the defensive is never productive.

  • Get on the same side. Rather than attempting to resolve an issue "my way" or "your way," work toward a solution that represents "our way." Working on a new shared solution is more productive than trying to get your spouse do it your way.

  • Don't be a mind reader and don’t expect your spouse to be. Discuss your beliefs and expectations openly. Don't try to interpret your spouse's thoughts or motives from his or her behavior; instead, ask direct questions. Likewise, don't expect your spouse to know what you are thinking. This alone will avoid a lot of fights.

  • Do not move on until you resolve your conflict. Settling arguments takes hard work and can also take time. If you haven't reached an agreement by bedtime, put the matter aside with the understanding that you will resume discussion the next day. Don't leave yourself (or your marriage) vulnerable.

  • Avoid name calling or blaming. As you work to resolve conflict, it's okay to talk about circumstances and behavior. However, attacking your spouse's personality or character is never acceptable. Use statements like:  “I feel _______ when ________ happens. Could we work together to find a way to solve that?”  If you make it about you, your partner will feel less defensive and more likely to work with you to find a solution.

  • Win the relationship not the argument.  When you are motivated to win the relationship rather than the argument you are much more likely to resolve the argument and not do any damage to the relationship.  

  • Remember that love keeps no record of wrongs. Be quick to forgive, quick to admit your own mistakes, and quick to move on from the conflict. Do not bring up old conflicts or mistakes your spouse has made. Let the past be the past and work to make a better future.

  • Keep your emotions under control. Take a break from the argument if your emotions are at a high intensity. Continue resolving the conflict when you can be calm.  When emotions are too high it is very difficult to solve problems rationally and you are likely to do something you will regret.

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