Let’s face it.  In any relationship, we’re going to have arguments and fights.  No couple is perfect and no relationship can be conflict-free.  But there are things we can do to help keep things going smoothly and help avoid some of the conflicts in relationships.

#1.  Don’t just talk.  Listen too.

Think back to the last argument you had with your better half.  Was it an open and honest conversation where you were genuinely trying to understand their point of view, or was your biggest concern trying to make sure you proved that you were right?  When we go into a disagreement doing nothing by trying to prove that we’re right and they’re wrong, nothing will change.  You won’t come to a resolution.  The only thing you’ll do successfully is alienate each other and hold hard feelings.

Instead of listening just to respond, listen to hear the other person’s heart and their concern.  It may not be pleasant to hear what they have to say, and it may hurt, but it’s important to respect their feelings.  Berating each other and trying to prove something will only make things worse.  Trying to understand their point of view shows them you’re willing to listen to their feelings too.  Once they’ve shared their feelings, try repeating what they said back to them to make sure that you understand correctly what they said.  Don’t “mince words” and try to use their words against them.  Simply work to understand their points.  After they’ve shared their side, share yours.  Don’t make it a contest to see who can “win” the fight, because when couples fight, there are no winners.  Everyone loses.

#2.  If you’ve forgiven them for a mistake, stop bringing it up.

In many relationships, we tell someone we forgive them for something or that we have moved on, but then the next fight we have we throw it back up in their face.  If you’ve forgiven your spouse or told them you’re moving on, then you need to do just that.  It’s not fair and it breaks trust in your relationship if you tell the other person you’ve forgiven them only to try to make them feel guilty, ashamed, etc. when you’re in an argument.  If you had truly forgiven them, you probably wouldn’t be bringing it up now.  If you’re struggling with unforgiveness, you should talk to your pastor, a counselor or a trusted, mature friend.

You won’t come to a resolution by guilting them.

#3.  Stay on topic.

If you’re arguing about something, stay on topic.  If you’re disagreeing about taking out the trash, don’t throw it up in their face about how the yard still needs to be mowed and how they promised to do the dishes that one time six months ago and how you always cook and how they never fixed the light fixture and how they never tell you when the oil needs to be changed and… you get the idea.  Pick one topic at a time and stay there.  When there’s no central point of a disagreement and neither of you stay on task, you’ll never come to an agreement – you’re just fighting for the sake of fighting.

It’s okay to have conflict.

It’s okay to have conflict in your relationship. It’s not okay to leave arguments unresolved.

One thing that’s important to remember is that it’s okay to disagree with your significant other.  Disagreements happen in marriages and relationships.  However, there is a healthy way to disagree so you don’t create unnecessary conflict.  It’s important to understand every unresolved argument you have only creates further distance between you and your spouse.  You’re only pushing each other away.  If you truly want to change your relationship with your husband or wife – you have to start arguing to resolve issues – not to create more conflict.

If you’re struggling in your relationship and aren’t sure where to turn, reach out to us or schedule an appointment.  It’s okay to admit your relationship needs some help.