SOME THOUGHTS ON CONFLICT RESOLUTION....

Arguments between spouses accomplish a lot…most of it destructive. Yet, many couples find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of rehashing the same fights over and over. Often this causes one or both of the individuals to withdraw in order to avoid the pain and anger involved.
Overtime, communication breaks down and really serious problems may crop up in the marriage.

The problem with arguments is that they are thought of as contests. Someone must win and someone must lose. But, when there is a winner and loser…both the husband and wife lose because someone is going to feel defeated and resentful.
There is another way.
By learning some basic conflict resolution techniques, couples can put aside the need to “win” an argument and instead learn resolve their disputes in a manner acceptable to both parties. It is possible to learn conflict resolution just as it is possible to learn anything else.

THE KEY
The key to conflict resolution is not in seeking to rid ourselves of our differences, but rather to learn to make our differences into assets rather than liabilities. See your differences as ingredients which, when blended, make your relationship stronger and more interesting. Then you can stop focusing on having a winner or loser, and instead look for a winning solution.

TEAMWORK
In order to find a winning solution to the conflict, you must first agree that it is possible and that you are both willing to work toward it. Then you must choose to respect your partner’s ideas, even when you disagree. You must also approach the problem from a place of love and a desire to make your spouse happy. Finally, you must choose to believe that you are both on the same team and that the resolution you are seeking is what’s best not for you personally, but for the team.

LISTENING
During an argument, the parties are most likely “re-loading” rather than really listening. By re-loading we mean thinking about what you are going to say next rather than really hearing what is being said. Give your spouse your absolute undivided attention when he or she is expressing an opinion. Don’t respond too quickly, before you have the full picture. Actively listen by repeating back to him or her what you thought you heard. Ask questions and be patient. Respect your partner’s right to have his or her own views, even if you don’t agree with them.

THINK OUTSIDE THE VICIOUS CYCLE

“Two heads are better than one,” they say. Brainstorming with your spouse rather than arguing will allow you to come up with resolutions neither of you may have thought of. When you both get a chance to express yourselves, you will often find that you will often come up with a third alternative…a solution that both of you can celebrate. It may not have been your original idea or your spouse’s, but if it meets both your needs and solves the problem, then it’s a winning solution.

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