Conflict is a normal part of all relationships, even though for many of us, it isn’t comfortable. Since there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, you can expect that you’re going to experience conflict.
Are you a fair fighter?
Check out these guidelines to see how you’re doing. These rules are designed to help each person respectfully voice his or her concerns and then work together to solve the problem.
• Work to remain calm and logical during disagreements.
• Don’t fight to win. When one wins and one loses in a valued relationship, both of you lose. The goal is to solve the problem with a solution both can live with.
• Respect and value yourself and your partner.
• Pick your battles. Decide how much energy you are willing to invest in this problem.
• Get focused. Take time to figure out your thoughts and feelings about the issue before you talk about it.
• Learn to compromise.
• Pick a time to talk that’s convenient for both of you. Avoid mealtime, just coming in from work, or in front of others, especially children.
• Stick to one issue at a time. Avoid the temptation to lump several concerns into the same discussion.
• Ask for and give feedback to make sure you’re hearing each other accurately.
• Ask for what you want. “What I want from you is a commitment to follow the budget for six months.” Also ask your partner, “What do you want from me?“
• Focus on the positive. “Thank you for listening to me.”
• Have a time-out rule. If either of you is starting to feel upset, agree to table the discussion.
• Never use violence to get your way.
• Let go. Once you’ve reached a solution and put it into action, drop it. Forgive and forget is a good motto.
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