Every now and then I hear a “relationship expert” say that they have never had an argument with their spouse. This is when I find myself thinking that this person is lying or that he certainly can’t relate to me.
Conflicts come to all relationships. It’s how we handle conflict that makes the difference between a great relationship and a breakup looking for a place to happen.
3 approaches to avoid
Exploiting: Exploiting is one of the most common ways of handling conflict, especially for men. Somehow we have the notion that getting angry at something can solve any problem. Perhaps the explosion was modeled on us at home, or perhaps anger is the emotion we are most familiar with.
There are just a couple of problems with this approach. At best, the blast will distance people, and at worst, it will scare them away, even drive them away.
And it doesn’t solve the problem either.
Blowing – Blowing is taking all those disgusting feelings caused by the conflict and swallowing them, stuffing them inside. This is the type of conversation that often occurs:
Partner 1: “What did you think of the movie?”
Partner 2: “Fine.”
Partner 1: “What did you think of the music?”
Partner 2: “Fine.”
Partner 1: “Would you like to see him again?”
Partner 2: “Well?”
One problem with blowing is that if you do it as a lifestyle and for life, it can literally make you sick, even kill you. The body can only take in so much poison before causing damage.
The other problem with blowing is that anger and resentment will build and build up. Sometimes just for a few minutes or days, sometimes for years, but an explosion is coming. So blowing eventually leads to, you guessed it, exploding.
Blowing Off: This one seems so innocent, with statements from “Hey, no big deal” to “Oh, just get over it and get a life!”
And yet he is not so innocent.
Blowing off sends at least three lousy messages:
=> they don’t understand you,
=>you don’t count,
=>their feelings are not important nor do they care about them.
With only one of the above, you have problems.
With all three, you have a breakout looking for a place to happen.
A better way to handle it
Blow Through – Here are some quick and easy steps:
1) See the conflict as the enemy, not each other. While it’s easier said than done, it makes a world of difference. Viewing conflict as an external enemy to the relationship allows you to do two important things:
=>avoid fighting for being right,
=>form a team and attack the problem together.
2) Identify the conflict. Give it a name so you can tame it.
3) Attack him. Throw everything you have into it. All of his creativity, silly and crazy ideas, all of the skills, solutions, and tools that each of you has, go into eliminating this in a way that works for both of you.
And that’s not all.
To really get over a conflict, you have one more thing to do………..
4) Set it so it doesn’t happen again. When conflicts like this arise again, and they will, you now have a game plan, a “our way” of handling it that allows you to get through it.
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