Even though I believe that conflict in a relationship is not altogether a bad idea, but when there is more conflict in a relationship than peaceful times, then there is really a problem that needs to be sorted out.
While I now firmly believe in the power of compromise, I didn’t start out like that in my relationship. While we were dating, my husband, more often than not, agreed to do things the way I liked. He gave me all sorts of titles, from financial manager to general manager, and it was honestly flattering.
It was a rude awakening, when that wasn’t the case when we got married. My mister wanted to have his way too, and I had gotten used to having my way, so you can imagine, we had conflict. Plenty conflict.
We both had to learn and re-learn some things but it was all good at the end of the day.
In all of those periods filled with conflict, I learnt some lessons, which I will be sharing, and they are effectively ways to reduce conflict in your relationship.
You don’t always have to be right or have your own way
It’s true. Healthy relationships are not about winning every fight, but instead trying to resolve any issues so that they don’t happen again. This means not allowing your ego to get in the way of resolving conflict. Even if you know that you are in the right, it shouldn’t be used as permission to belittle or emotionally manipulate your partner.
Relationships are successful when both partners decide to be teammates, rather than opponents. They understand that who wins the fight is not nearly as important as resolving it. Conflict is healthy in any partnership, but it should never be used as an opportunity to state your status or pride over someone else.
Remember you both desire same thing- harmony
Most likely, you both want to get back on track and have a peaceful relationship. Also remember the feeling of connectedness that you want to feel. It’s hard to feel threatened by someone when you see yourselves as interconnected and working towards the same goal.
Stop the ‘silent treatment’
There is nothing more destructive, pointless and stupid than giving each other the silent treatment. Most arguments in relationships occur because of a communication issue, so why would you cut all communication to resolve the problem?
It’s true that not saying anything can help get the point across, especially for women as we tend to talk more than men. However, when we use silence as a punishment rather than a moment to process what we want to say, we aggravate the situation. Keeping mute when you really should be saying everything you feel and think is not going to bring progress.
We need to learn to talk without fear of being misjudged, rejected or unheard. Try and make it a rule that you both choose to talk rather than stay silent. Cultivate communicating with each other even when it’s uncomfortable.
Don’t sweat the small stuff and forgive
Instead of making every little molehill a mountain, agree to not make something a battle unless it’s truly important. Realize that not every disagreement needs to be an argument.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you bow to someone else’s demands when it’s something you feel strongly about, but take the time to question the level of importance of the matter at hand.
It’s also a good idea to let go fast. Forgiveness also means not bringing up that past mistake or fault. It means choosing to let go and not focus on the pain. Sure it’s hard to forget, but you can’t keep bringing up their old mistakes for the rest of your life together.
Constantly bringing up past faults will only keep you and your relationship in the past instead of moving forward into a better future.
Your words matter, choose your words
What you say has an incredible impact on a relationship. Your words can either build something up or tear something down. Choose your words carefully and learn to be aware of what you say so that you can start speaking life, peace and restoration into your partnership.
Constant negative and bitter words will only poison what you have and limit the potential of your relationship as well as your happiness.
It’s easy to say something you don’t actually mean in anger, but words are something we can never take back. Your words are usually a true representation of how you feel about your partner. If you are harbouring doubts, insecurities, or resentment, make sure you address these issues.
Try and be generous and kind in your language towards your significant other. Build them up with words of love and watch it reciprocated.
Get some sleep and exercise
This might seem a little random, but how many times have we snapped because we were tired or restless and had a build-up of frustration? Exercise is not just an important habit for physical health; it is also a great way to clear the mind and sweat out any built up emotions.
It forces you to step away from your frustrations and focus on something else, often helping you put things back into perspective.
Sleep deprivation can turn you into a ticking time bomb, so it’s important to recognise when you need to just stop and rest to save your sanity (and relationship).
Whatever you do, remember the love, you started with and let it guide your actions towards your partner.
Whatever be the case, stay in love!
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.