SOLVING COUPLE CONFLICT
10 Steps to a Successful Outcome
Val Baldwin, CPC
Everybody experiences conflict with the ones they love. Let’s face it, if you have a pulse…you’re going to disagree at times. And that’s really OK. What most people don’t realize is that it’s not usually the conflict itself that tears people apart, but how you resolve it and the feelings you have towards each other AFTER the conflict that really has the biggest effect on your relationship. As a professional speaker, trainer and Life Success Coach, not only have I seen what a poisonous effect unresolved conflict can have in couples lives but I’ve witnessed the counter-productive effect it has in corporations and organizations as well. These same valuable couple conflict tools can be used in all areas of your life to produce a happier, less stressed out, more fulfilled you.
Let me first share with you two critical concepts you must put into practice if you want those difficult discussions to end in a positive manner. One proven secret to resolving conflict peacefully is how you approach your startup. Research finds that discussions invariably end on the same note they began. If you start an argument harshly meaning you attack your partner verbally you’ll end up with at least as much tension as you began. But if you use a softened startup such as: you maturely voice your complaint about a specific behavior you wish were different instead of attacking your partner’s character or personality, you are polite by saying “please” and “I would appreciate”, you are crystal clear on what is actually bothering you, you verbalize your appreciation for times when things were handled better and you speak showing respect the discussion is likely to be more productive. So remember, if you go straight for the jugular, you’re going to draw blood and get nowhere. If you start softly, you are more likely to resolve the conflict and have a happier and healthier relationship.
The second critical concept for coping effectively with conflict is communicating basic acceptance of your partner’s personality. Human nature dictates that it is virtually impossible to accept advice from someone unless you feel that person understands you. So the bottom-line rule is before you ask your partner to change the way he or she drives, eats or completes chores around the house, you must make your partner feel that you are understanding of their point of view. If either (or both) of you feels judged, misunderstood, or rejected by the other, you will not be able to manage the problems in your relationship. Put these two key concepts into daily practice when those sensitive subjects come up and I promise they will go much smoother.
When you’ve decided the conflict has gone on long enough and it’s time to work things out, this 10-step plan from my training with Life Innovations, Inc is an amazing tool. Use it faithfully and I will guarantee a positive outcome for you both.
FUTURE WEEKLY MEETINGS: At your next weekly meeting, if you have not improved, go through steps 5-8 and try a different solution. If you have shown improvement, use this exercise to overcome other problems. Make couple meetings a regular part of your weekly schedule. They can really make a positive difference!
Always remember that the key to resolving conflict is to show respect, understanding and a commitment to finding win-win solutions for you both. A happy, healthy partnership is all about cooperation and compromise. It’s not a competition. Follow these highly effective steps and you won’t ever have to be afraid to discuss those “tough topics” again.
© Copyright, 2005, Val Baldwin, www.valbaldwin.com