Many couples reach challenging points in their relationship and don’t know what to do about them. We repeat an endless cycle of getting hurt, hurting back and perpetuating the hurt through our actions. This often happens even in dating situations and marriages where both people are kind, intelligent and caring. So what is it that causes this conflict and what can we do about it. Here are some of the causes of conflict:
- Neither person understands the other person’s point of view.
- There is not a meeting of the minds on issues.
- Neither side backs down.
- Each side tries to win.
- Neither side has the skills or knowledge to fix the problem.
- The people involved are hurt, angry, frustrated or sad.
The good news is that you can help your situation by thinking about new ways of doing things. The key point is to start a process where nobody wins and both of you collaborate to find a solution that works for both of you. Think of some of the following ideas and begin connecting with your spouse in ways that will benefit both of you.
- Both agree to talk.
- Set up an interruption-free time to talk.
- Agree on one thing to talk about.
- Brainstorm possible ideas to fix the problem.
- Evaluate each option.
- Agree together on the resolution that works best for both of you.
- Work together to take action on the resolution.
- Move to the next problem.
- Think about getting a neutral person involved to mediate.
I also encourage my clients to do away with the word “problem” and look at the challenges in life as opportunities for movement in a more positive direction. Looking at challenging situations in a positive light gives you the opportunity to actually fix things rather than repeating the same patterns.
So the next time you are in the middle of a fight, redirect your thoughts to the possiblity that both of you can work together and purposefully resolve the matter.