Initially, people are more often than not attracted to their partner because of their differences; opposites attract. For example, an introverted person will attract an extroverted partner, and vice versa. This gives people in relationships the opportunity to create a balance in their life.
Couples give each other contrasting experiences so they can transform and enhance one another. As already mentioned, people are "initially" attracted to one another because of the differences they possess, however, as relationships develop, so can frustrations.
Knowing, understanding, and having an ability to relate to your partner who once appeared endearing goes out of the window. Relationships are your opportunity to heal unresolved issues within yourself.
With relationships, there are 6 simple steps you can use to support you and your partner to resolve conflict and differences quickly.
It's easy to take things to heart, take things personally, particularly when it involves an intimate partner. Harsh words expressed by your loved one may bring up feelings of abandonment and rejection for you, which may trigger the fight (fight back), flight (run away), or freeze (shutdown and withdraw) response in you.
Don Miguel recommends not to take anything personally, regardless of how someone acts or behaves; it is based on them, not you! You are not responsible for your partner's behavior, just as it is not your partner's responsibility for how you think, feel, and behave. Your partner is also not responsible for your happiness. Understand the next time your partner becomes reactive, it is about them, so don't take it personally.
“Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.”
Have you ever entered an argument or disagreement with someone and brought up every issue you can think of, including the kitchen sink, and it had "nothing" to do with your current disagreement? Does your critical inner voice keep reminding you of all those misdeeds you've been tallying up that your partner did, which may even go back years? Bringing up issues that are not related to your current problem is not helpful if you want to resolve a problem. Stick to one issue at a time.
Are you a "don't rock the boat" type of person?
Is this how you manage conflict in your relationships? When you ignore an issue, you're not managing conflict, you're delaying your issues for another day. In fact, unresolved issues can fester and create resentment, which is when you bring up more than one issue at a time.
An example of a conflict that's delayed could be your partner didn't take the trash out and you ignore it but you make "snide" remarks towards your partner for forgetting your birthday two weeks ago. I call this approach avoidance conflict—avoid the issue to avoid a conflict, but it is difficult to resolve any issues using this style of communication.
Avoidance, believe it or not, is power and control to manipulate your partner to do what you want by creating guilt; you play the martyr. When an issue arises and you've identified it as an "unmet need" deal with it as soon as possible.
There will be many/many things that may cause you to become disgruntled with your partner, but if you focus on every little thing, your relationship will revolve around (and focus on) the negatives.
Pick your battles and those things important to you. Every issue in a relationship is an "unmet need." Consider what need is not being met in your relationship and how can you get this need met.
Can your unmet need be fulfilled through joining a club? Can your friends meet your unmet need? Or is it something that has to be met in a relationship? For example, you feel your partner takes you for granted and only your partner can express their gratitude to you for what you do.
Every issue in a relationship is an unmet need.
Know your conflict style so you and your partner can manage conflict effectively. In times of disagreement, do you or your partner:
All the above, and more, can cause confusion, fear, anxiety, overwhelm, and difficulties to solve differences within a relationship. When you know what tactics you both use, you can be more conscious and behave differently.
It's important that you take turns to listen to one another and "hear" each other's concerns. Coming from a place of love and curiosity will support your partner to express their needs.
Try not to judge and interpret your partner's concerns; all concerns are valid. Clarify what your partner said to make sure you fully understand what you've been told, and your partner will feel listened to and supported.
For example, when your partner tells you they feel unsupported with household chores, repeat back to them, "You feel unsupported when I don't help with the dishes after dinner. Did I hear that correctly?"
When your partner confirms, or elaborates further their concern ask, "What do you need from me?" Or, "Do you have a request?"
All conflict is an unmet need and a competition for power, but not all competition for power ends up in conflict.
Relationships can be a struggle and a challenge. When you move into fear, you compete for power with your partner; all conflict is a competition for power, but not all competition for power ends up in conflict.
When you center yourself, align with your heart, you will come from a place of love rather than fear.
Turn your relationship differences into an opportunity to further expand who you are and understand your partner better.
It only takes one person in the relationship to change their response to transform the outcome.
If you wish to further explore how to transform your relationship and resolve conflict, hit the "Let's Connect" button below to arrange a free 30-45 minute consultation with me via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or Free Conference Call.
I look forward to connecting.
Until next time
Sharon Craig, Relationship Coach and Dating Coach
Contact me and we'll transform your relationship from "on the ropes" to "happily ever after."
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