Conflict is inevitable, combat is optional.
The truth is that conflict happens in every relationship. It’s a myth that in a happy relationship you’ll get along all the time. What matters is how you talk about issues more than what you fight about.
Understanding the type of conflict in your relationship can help you to manage it for a happier connection.
Solvable problems are situational and about the topic at hand. There isn’t usually a deeper meaning to the conflict or a person’s position.
Perpetual problems are fundamental differences in your personalities or lifestyle needs. All couples have perpetual problems, and they account for 69% of conflicts. Perpetual problems can become gridlocked problems, and when you feel criticized, rejected, or unaccepted by your partner, this can be a sign that you’ve entered into gridlock.
Approach your differences with curiosity rather than correctness. Have a genuine desire to understand the stories underneath the issues.
To better understand how your partner approaches conflict, ask these open-ended questions:
- How was conflict handled in your family growing up?
- How do you feel about anger? How was it expressed in your family growing up?
- How can I best support you when you’re feeling angry?
- How do you like to make up after an argument?
Every couple fights, but not every couple knows how to fight in a healthy way. Gottman Method Couples Therapy uses over 40 years of relationship research to help you and your partner learn how to approach conflict in a productive way. Working with a Certified Gottman Therapist can provide both you and your partner with the essential tools needed to communicate effectively and repair after experiencing tension, as well as transform your conflict conversations to the positive.
The skills that you will learn in couple’s counseling include:
- Why you keep fighting about the same things, and how to get “unstuck”.
- How to address recurring issues within your relationship.
- How to approach conflict conversations gently, in a way that addresses specific issues.
- How to identify what your feelings and experiences are around issues that are causing conflict, and how to gently bring them up with your partner.
- How to understand your partner’s side of an issue, and how to get your partner to understand where you’re coming from.
- How to examine the individual values, ideas, and beliefs that influence how you and your partner engage with the world around you.
- Understanding more clearly what your own emotions are telling you about each other.