Kiss and Make Up: 5 Conflict Resolution Tips for Every Couple
Friday, August 25th is Kiss and Make Up Day, which let’s admit, we all need a little help with sometimes. No matter how perfect a relationship may look on the outside, everyone has their own problems. It may range from your partner never taking out the trash, to your partner never listening to you. Well, to help you work through it, here are 5 conflict resolution tips you can use in your relationship.
1. Circle in on the problem, not your partner.
When we’re mad, it’s easy to forget that the person we’re talking to is someone we love more than anything in the world. When your disagreement is reduced to name calling, raised voice and personal insults, the conversation isn’t exactly getting resolved. Which means, maybe you should both take a time out. It’s important to make sure you’re trying to zero in on the problem, versus just placing the blame on your partner.
2. Practice reflective listening.
When embroiled in an argument, it’s only natural to want to be heard. You want to get your point across. You want to win. But sitting there on the other side, is a real life human being. One that loves you, one who you love (even though it’s hard to remember when you’re in the moment). So even though your point is valid and you may be right, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to listen to their side. In order to practice reflective listening, you should, before responding to your partner, restate what they said to you in your own words. Repeat this step until your partner agrees that you fully understand what they are trying to say. Then you can give your rock solid argument and have your partner repeat the steps above. This will help you both feel listened to and understood, even if you still don’t agree.
3. “I,” comes before, “you.”
“You never make time for me.” “You’re always late!” “You don’t listen to me.” Sound familiar? Yup, we’ve all been there. But does it help anything? Probably not. Usually, it only makes the problem worse. And that’s because these, “you,” statements often only cause our partners to become defensive. Instead, you should practice using, “I.” It shows that we are taking responsibility of our own emotions, rather than blaming our loved ones. You’re more likely to respond positively to, “I feel hurt when you don’t make time for me,” rather than the alternative, right?
4. It’s okay to press pause.
In, “How I Met Your Mother,” Lily and Marshall use the, “pause,” and, “un-pause,” feature in their relationship. It means that no matter where they are in an argument, one of them can just press “pause,” then they resume their day as if nothing has happened, because their fight in on “pause.” I know they’re fictional characters, but this is definitely a lesson worth learning. Think about it, when you’re in the middle of a huge fight and nothing is getting resolved because you’re both becoming argumentative, insulting or aggressive, it’s probably a good idea to press “pause.” In the meantime, you both should spend some time alone doing something relaxing, then revisit the problem. Note: it’s very important to remember you’re on pause, because sweeping things under the rug never fixes anything.
5. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Your significant other is called your partner for a reason. That’s because you’re a team. So when conflicts arise, (which let’s admit, they definitely do. Disagreement is a normal part of a relationship) you should work together to solve them. And even if there is no right answer, it’s your job to work together as a team to reach a compromise that benefits you both. It’s important to ask yourself if this disagreement really matters in the long run. Will it/does it affect the health of your team? If not, it’s also important to remember you can move on from it.
Kiss and Make Up Day is a nice reminder that, it’s okay to have disagreements sometimes. Every relationship has them. No one is perfect. But at the end of the day, you have someone that loves you and is willing to go through these times with you. And as long as you kiss and make up after the disagreements (and after you use these conflict resolution tips), everything is going to be okay.