Diffusing Conflict Before the Argument Becomes Physical
Seek to Understand and to Be Understood
Conflict is unavoidable in even the most congenial relationship. The key to a happy relationship is not the complete avoidance of conflict but to handle the inevitable disagreements in a constructive manner.
The following suggestions for a peaceful resolution assume that the disagreeing parties want resolution. Some people simply enjoy the fight. They seek to control and dominate their partners. If that is not the case; if both parties are willing to communicate both thoughts and feelings, exhibit respect for one another and seek a win-win outcome then the probability of reaching a mutually agreeable solution is quite high.
Man couples find a three fold plan to be highly beneficial when resolving both the minor day-by-day conflicts and the major conflicts that threaten to tug the relationship asunder.
Seek to Understand
If a couple truly desires to resolve their conflict they must first commit to understanding one another. The first step is to validate each other's feelings and display a willingness to solve the problem confronting them. Listen carefully to your partner express his thoughts, needs, and feelings and then repeat what you heard. This important step confirms an accurate understanding of your mate's statements. You will be amazed at how often what we think we heard is not what your partner said! Repeat this step over and over again if needed. It is imperative to understand what was said. Do not be condescending or haughty but truly seek to understand his unmet needs. After you understand your partner's needs, ask him what would make him feel better. What does he need?
Seek to be Understood
Of course conflict resolution is not a one way street! Once you have come to an understanding of your partner's needs then he needs to come to an understanding of your needs. Express yourself calmly and then confirm his understanding by having him repeat what he heard. Again, this step might need to be repeated many times before your needs are understood.
Mutually Generate Opinions and Resolutions
Now that both parties understand each other's thoughts and feelings it is time to brainstorm solutions. Do not allow judgment to enter into the conversation. That will end all discussion and necessitate a return to step one - seek to understand! Discuss each other's solutions and seek to choose the option that maximizes each other's needs and respects each other's feelings. Be patient! A final resolution might require many discussions for particularly complicated disagreements. It is rare that an option is reached that is not a compromise of each partner's solution.
Whereas conflict resolution is rarely simple it is worth the effort to seek to understand and then to be understood. A strong adherence to this simple plan will promote respect and honoring within the relationship. Truly this is a win-win solution!
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