Having regular fights and conflicts between couples is one of the most common things in any relationship. It is not necessarily because they cannot handle their emotions but because being in a relationship is a normal part of life.
In a relationship, the couple gets to know each other better to form a partnership. However, this process might lead to some conflict and disagreements, which is normal.
However, when the couple cannot resolve these issues, it becomes a problem. Conflict resolution is one of the most significant aspects of building a healthy and solid relationship. A contributing factor to achieving this is developing a habit of communicating clearly with each other.
Understanding the Causes of Conflict in a Relationship
As mentioned earlier, conflict is one of the most common aspects of any relationship. As the couple gets to know each other better, disagreements might arise.
The Britannica dictionary defines conflict as a strong disagreement between individuals, people, groups, or organizations. In a relationship, conflict can arise from misunderstandings between couples, often leading to fights and, in extreme cases, violence.
Conflicts can arise from many factors, like selfishness, holding grudges, struggling for power and control, miscommunication, high expectations, household responsibilities, unresolved disagreements, etc., and the list goes on and on.
To build a healthy relationship with your partner, it is imperative to take note of the following underlying factors that might lead to conflict in your relationship.
Identify the root cause of the problem
Most of the time, the reasons that cause conflict in a relationship are not as obvious as we think they are. Some conflicts in a relationship arise as a result of another underlying need. This need might not be apparent on the surface, but on deeper analysis, the main root of the problem is discovered.
To build a strong and healthy relationship, you need to reflect on your partner’s feelings. The process will enable you to get to the root cause of the problem rather than just scratching the surface.
Understand your partners’ communication styles
It is one of the most critical but largely overlooked factors in building a healthy relationship with your partner. A lot of people have different communication styles that they are more comfortable with and proficient at.
Some people prefer to communicate directly, while others do so indirectly, and seek to avoid conflict or confrontation altogether. Some people convey their feelings using words, while others avoid talking and tend to write how they feel more expressively.
It is imperative to understand your partner’s communication style and align with it to promote better and more effective communication in the relationship.
Importance of Effective Communication in Resolving Relationship Conflicts
Communication is one of the most critical factors in building a healthy relationship. The basis of any healthy relationship is the ability to effectively communicate with each other. This is because it is through effective communication that both parties can understand each other better, communicate likes and dislikes, and understand each other’s triggers.
It is also significant when resolving the underlying conflicts between couples. It is through effective communication that both parties can come to an understanding of the root cause of the disagreement. It will enable them to find common ground to resolve whatever misunderstandings may arise.
Some best practices to improve communication in your relationship:
Practice active listening
Active listening is a very powerful tool for promoting effective communication between people and leading to healthier relationships. Because it allows you to better understand what your partner is saying, active listening makes your partner feel heard, seen and understood.
Instead of trying to counter their points during an argument or listening to pick points to argue about later, try listening to truly understand the message your partner is trying to convey and seeing things from their perspective. Not only does this promote better communication, but it also helps you build a strong and healthy relationship.
Learn to use “I” statements when communicating
The use of generalized terms or languages is one of the most common reasons for relationship conflicts. When communicating with your partner, it is advisable to use plain language. This is not a general statement that might come off as offensive or trigger your partner even more.
For example, instead of using the statement, “You’re always ignoring me,” try saying, “I feel hurt when I don’t feel heard.”
Avoid blaming or accusing language
It is very common for couples to use accusatory language during a conflict to share how they feel with the other person. However, using accusatory language can come off as a trigger for more conflict because your partner might feel hurt by what you say and become defensive.
Instead of using accusatory language, express your feelings as clearly as possible from your point of view so your partner understands where you’re coming from.
For example, rather than saying, “You’re so selfish,” try saying, “I feel like my needs aren’t being met.”
This way, there’s clear communication, and there is no direct accusation against the next person.
Best Ways to Navigate Conflict Resolution in Your Relationship
Compromise and find common ground
Every relationship requires some form of compromise to function. Compromise is not just a practical solution to resolving conflicts; it is also an expression of care and concern for your partner.
Finding common ground between you and your partner is one of the most effective ways to build a healthy, lasting, and strong relationship. However, both parties should be involved in the compromise because, if one-sided, it might lead to even deeper problems.
Identify your partner’s underlying needs.
During a conflict, it’s critical to identify the underlying needs and desires that are driving the disagreement. This is because an argument may be triggered by an underlying need rather than the topic under discussion.
For example, if you and your partner are arguing about how to spend your free time, you might realize that your partner wants to spend more quality time together. However, you value having time to pursue your hobbies.
By truly listening to your partner’s perspective and showing genuine care for their feelings, you can work together to find a compromise. This will allow both of you to feel fulfilled.
Brainstorm possible solutions and choose the most suitable solution
Once you’ve identified the underlying needs, it’s crucial to find possible solutions to meet those needs. This is a time to get creative, think outside the box, and show your partner that you’re invested in finding a solution that works for both of you.
Try to approach this process with a sense of vulnerability and openness. Share your own needs and feelings, and listen attentively to your partner’s ideas. By creating a space for mutual vulnerability and authenticity, you can foster a deeper emotional connection with your partner.
Take responsibility for your actions
Taking responsibility for your actions is not only essential for healthy conflict resolution but also a fundamental aspect of demonstrating care and concern for your partner. When you take ownership of your behavior, you show your partner that you value their feelings, needs, and well-being. It also shows that you are committed to the relationship and willing to put in the effort to make things right.
It is essential to express genuine remorse and a willingness to make amends when trying to resolve a conflict with your partner. This can help repair any damage caused by the conflict and restore trust in the relationship. It’s a way of saying, “I care about you, and I recognize the impact of my behavior on you.” I want to make things right.
Lighten the mood with a bit of humor
Using humor for conflict resolution in relationships can be a powerful way to bring a sense of lightness and positivity to a potentially emotional and challenging situation. Humor can help diffuse tension, reduce stress, and create a space where both partners feel comfortable and heard.
Research has revealed that satisfied couples express enhanced affection and humor as compared to dissatisfied couples, who express increased disagreements, hostility, and criticism.
When using humor, it’s imperative to remember that everyone has different boundaries and sensitivities. Humor that is offensive or disrespectful to your partner will only make the situation more difficult. Instead, focus on using self-deprecating humor or playful banter that will help ease tensions without causing harm.
Seek professional help
Seeking professional help for your relationship can be a difficult decision. However, it’s imperative to find a therapist who will approach your issue with compassion and concern for your partner and your relationship. Conflicts can be challenging to navigate, and seeking the guidance of a professional can provide the support and tools you need to overcome them.
Navigating conflict in a relationship can be an emotionally charged experience. But the way you handle these conflicts ultimately determines the strength and longevity of your relationship. Implementing healthy conflict resolution strategies can not only help you resolve disagreements but also strengthen your bond with your partner, increasing trust and intimacy.