About six months into their relationship, Uchechi and her boyfriend started experiencing major conflicts. They would fight over small things, flip out over misunderstandings, they just couldn’t seem to get on the same page about anything.
Their many fights and misunderstandings strained their relationship. It caused them to keep going in opposite directions until they identified the things that trigger their conflicts and dealt with it.
Relationship conflict is normal, but handling it can either make or mar the relationship. It’s clear that relationship conflict occurs because expectations aren’t being met. Each person comes into a relationship with certain expectations. These are based on past experiences, childhood, or how they think things should be.
Conflict can be distressing. The key is identifying what causes those conflicts and handling them in ways that the relationship doesn’t suffer. If couples see conflicts as opportunities for growth, it can help them bring them closer and deepen their relationship.
These tips below will help couples deal with conflicts and grow together in the process.
Bear in mind that you are both different
No matter how much you have in common as a couple, you are both different individuals with different set of values and upbringing as well as different experiences. A lot of couples see conflict as a time to bail—either because they were already looking for a way out or because they freak out and feel threatened. Understand your partner’s difference and focus on resolving your differences.
Use conflict as an opportunity to grow
This requires understanding that conflict will inevitably occur in a close relationship. The only way of getting around it is to not share your opinion at all, which is not healthy. Use the period to learn more about your partner.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Instead of making every little molehill a mountain, agree to not make something a battle unless it’s truly important. Realize that not every disagreement needs to be an argument. Of course, this doesn’t mean you bow to someone else’s demands when it’s something you feel strongly about, but take the time to question the level of importance of the matter at hand.
Accept your partner for who they are
If you find yourself in the midst of a conflict, try to remember that the other person is coming into the situation with a totally different background and set of experiences than yourself. You have not been in this person’s shoes, and while it may help to try to put yourself in them, your partner is the only person who can really explain where he or she is coming from.
Patience is a virtue
It’s hard to remember patience in the heat of the moment. But stopping to take a few deep breathes, and deciding to take a break and revisit the discussion when tensions are not as high, can sometimes be the best way to deal with the immediate situation.
Unrealistic expectations hurt
This is not to say you should have low expectations but you should keep in mind you may have different expectations. The best way to clarify this is to find out your partner’s expectations in that scenario. Again, don’t automatically assume that you come into the situation with the same expectations.
Work in harmony
Most likely, you both want to get back on track and have a peaceful relationship after your fights, so be fair. It’s hard to feel threatened by someone when you see yourselves connected and working towards the same result.
Don’t focus on winning the fight
Solve the problem in your relationship instead of focusing on winning the fight. Resist the urge to be contrary just for that reason. Remember that it’s better to be happy than right.
Accept your partner’s response
Once you have shared your feelings as to what a person’s actions meant to you, accept their responses. If they tell you the intended meaning of their action was not as you received it, take that as face value.
Leave the past in the past
Once you have both had the opportunity to share your side, mutually agree to let it go. Your discussion should end in a mutually satisfactory way. If it doesn’t, you may choose to revisit it later. If you make the decision to leave it in the past, do your best to do that, rather than bringing it up again in future conflicts.