How to Handle Disagreements in a Relationship

All relationships have some level of conflict at one time or another, however in some relationships the conflict can be quite frequent and intense. Disagreements can be about what we want and need from our partner, how we parent our kids, money and even our values, beliefs, hopes and dreams. Arguments can range from being quite trivial to significant and possibly damaging to the relationship.

Disagreements in relationships become harmful when you’re focused on defending yourself from attack rather than on solving the problem. By focusing on your pain and suffering, you are ensuring you’ll experience more of the same, because where focus goes, energy flows.

Following are the things that can help avoid disagreements in a relationship-

Contempt

This is toxic to relationships – mocking or making fun of a partner at any time is not a great idea and can leave a partner feeling belittled. Avoid such actions to have a happy and healthy relationship.

Getting to the root of the problem

Explain in detail to your partner what you feel the problem is.  Be as specific as you can and then give them a chance to respond to what you have said.  Keep an open mind.  You’re looking for a win/win so try to remain objective and keep the heat down.

Different day- Same fight

When you are fighting about the same issues over and over it is usually because there is a difference in core values and beliefs.  These are attitudes that may have begun in childhood.  Ask each other what the issues really mean and when did they first experience them.  This can go a long way to you both understanding the issue rather than resolving it.  Some issues cannot be resolved but with a better understanding they can be avoided or be less upsetting.

Share the power and time

When you are having conflict remember to make space for your partner.  Speak a little less and listen more.  If you spend your time interrupting it will shut down the communication and can leave your partner feeling resentful.

Avoid Shutdowns

The silent treatment can feel controlling, involves avoidance and can disempower your partner.  If your partner is shutting you out let them know how it makes you feel and ask them to explain why they are upset.  Ask them what they need from you.  If this is a regular pattern in the relationship seek outside help from a therapist.

Create a welcoming environment for open communication.

In a healthy relationship, you and your partner can communicate openly about what is bothering you and what is going well in the relationship. It’s important to not only talk about the problems in the relationship, but also the positives so no one feels like they are doing everything wrong. If you feel like you can’t talk openly about important things, like life issues, money, aspirations, and anything big picture that scares or matters to you, then that is a sign that your relationship may be unhealthy. If you can’t express your feelings without fear of retaliation from your partner or them getting overly upset and defensive, then you may be in an abusive relationship.

Agree to disagree and choose your battles.

Sometimes we need to consider whether what we are fighting about is really worth arguing over. Is it just a matter of what to eat for dinner? Who would do the dishes? If the problem is small, sometimes it’s best to just drop it.  If you won’t be mad about it next week, then it’s probably not worth your energy. You won’t agree with your partner on absolutely everything, and if you feel like the issue is too big to drop then you should contemplate if you and your partner are really compatible.

Find some middle-ground.

Finding a balance between what both partners want and are comfortable with is very important. If you both care about making the relationship work you will come to an agreement on things without feeling like you are making huge sacrifices for your relationship. Compromising is a key way to resolve conflicts, and finding a middle-ground might be easier than you think.

 

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