Family conflicts are not uncommon when people live under the same roof. Conflict can occur not only when people have different attitudes and beliefs. Sometimes a conflict occurs when we cannot understand each other and come to the wrong conclusion because of this. Usually, we are afraid of conflicts and diligently avoid them. Relationship conflict is associated with feelings that are suppressed with anger and aggression. It always means that we cannot find a compromise during a clash and reach a peaceful agreement. Family and relationship conflicts arise for a variety of reasons, starting with small household trifles to serious disagreements. And their consequences can be different as well, it can be about loud cries or a long silence.
Conflicts are an integral part of our lives. If they are, it means that people care about each other, and relationship develops. To understand how to deal with conflict in a relationship correctly, you need to know what their reasons are and why they arise.
What Is Conflict Resolution?
Conflict resolution is a joint activity of its participants, aimed at ending the opposition and solving the problem that has led to the collision. Conflict resolution process involves the activity of both sides to transform the conditions in which they interact and to eliminate the causes of the conflict. To resolve the conflict, it is necessary to change the positions that the sides defended. Often the resolution of a conflict is based on a change in the attitude of opponents to each other or to the object of the conflict.
The necessary conditions for resolving the conflict are:
- Sufficient maturity of the conflict. In other words, awareness of the conflicting sides of the contradictions that objectively exist between them, as well as disagreements and counteractions that require prompt intervention for their settlement.
- The need and interest of each of the sides to jointly overcome the disagreements that have arisen.
- Separate or joint search and usage of conflict resolution methods that are available to the sides, i.e. elimination of its causes.
In practice, the resolution of a conflict is possible by forceful suppression of one of the sides or through negotiations (compromise, cooperation, and sometimes concessions).
Conflict Resolution Skills You Need in a Relationship
Most importantly, stop looking for the answer to the question, “Who is to blame?” But start looking for the answer to the question. “What should we do to prevent conflicts in our relationship?”
What steps might conflict resolution involve? To begin with, identify 5 key mistakes in your marital conflict. It doesn't matter whether it’s a conflict with a husband or a wife, these questions will help you in some ways.
- Determine whether you criticize your partner’s identity or their act? If you criticize a person instead of a single act (misconduct, more precisely), then do not be surprised that the conflict will be repeated.
- Determine if your conflicts are cyclical? What is it? Is there a conflict in some kind of repetitive typical situations? This applies both to the time of the conflict and to space (for example, the conflict flares up almost every time the husband comes home after the working day). Sometimes conflicts can be very quickly eliminated by only tracking repeated conditions (time and place of their occurrence).
- Who is the initiator of the conflict in the family in most cases? Answer honestly, do not fool yourself.
- One of the most important questions is why do you need it? According to some psychological consultations, spouses make a scandal for well-defined reasons with a well-defined goal. You may not be aware of the fact that the clashes occur not just due to an emotional impulse, but a well-defined emotional goal. Maybe there is less sex in your life, or its quality has deteriorated? Or are you trying to portray the victim of circumstances? Or does the conflict give you some kind of emotional boost? Conflict is a pathological way to solve a question, so answer the question honestly, "Why do I participate in a conflict?" Answer, at the same time, a simple and complex question, "Why do you need it?"
- Is this a protracted conflict? Does it last in your relationship for weeks, months, or even years? Conflict resolution for new couples means using some tips and strategies that differ from the same methods for family conflicts, for instance, as the connection between people isn't so tight and strong as when you live with someone for a long stretch of time.
Conflict Resolution Tips for New Couples
- Share only what is really important at the moment.
- Form a request - the conversation should have a specific request, so it is advisable to decide in advance what exactly you want to find out now. What would be your result? Wrong message, “You have ceased to be active,” “You are not attentive,” “You do not respect me.”
- Don't ask for a solution here and now.
- Avoid ultimatums.
- Perceive a conflict not as a disaster but as an opportunity for growth.
- Change the usual life scenario.
- Appreciate the partner’s determination to make a step forward.
Conflict Resolution Strategies
Relationship conflict usually causes people to rethink their usual way of life, personal values, points of view, assumptions about something or someone. It is known that falling into a state of anger, irritation, it is impossible to behave properly in a conflict situation. Our mind is blinded by emotions at this moment. And if both opponents are obsessed with anger, then it’s almost impossible to solve the problem. But even if one side behaves in a conflict situation calmly and evenly, there are great chances to resolve the conflict successfully. Rational behavior in conflict requires knowledge of the basic rules of its resolution.
Conflict Resolution Techniques
Rule 1. Recognize a conflict. Oddly enough, this is the hardest thing. Human nature has such a feature: it refuses to recognize the obvious. Instead of hiding your head in the sand, you should declare the conflict publicly. This will help clear the atmosphere of gossip and open the way for negotiations.
Rule 2. Agree on the procedure. If the conflict is recognized, agree on where, how and when you will begin to work together to overcome it.
Rule 3. Describe the conflict. It is important to define conflict in terms of the problem to be resolved. Each side must express what it sees as the essence of the conflict, what feelings it causes to it, how it assesses its role in the conflict situation. It is important to focus on specific actions, rather than on faces.
Rule 4. Research for possible solutions. A well-known "brainstorming" technique, when all members make any, even the most ridiculous, suggestions. All ideas are recorded, and the best is chosen. This procedure aims at collaboration and joint decision making.
Rule 5. Monitor the implementation of a joint decision.
Rule 6. Criticize your opponent favorably. To correctly use this rule, you need to know what forms of criticism exist.
How to Resolve Conflict in a Relationship?
Even in those couples where the spouses have come to an understanding and learned how to minimize conflicts, sometimes there is disagreement and controversy. We are different, and in one family, people can behave in completely different ways if disagreements arise between them. One is quick-tempered, easily giving in to anger and irritation, their behavior is poorly predictable. Nobody knows in what mood they will return home and what to expect from them. Actually, the key to resolving conflict in a relationship is being able to behave correctly in a conflict situation.
At the same time, it is important not only to behave competently in collisions but to know the character and temperament of your opponent well to find a common language with them. Conflict resolution in relationships should be very careful as it requires lots of patience, understanding, and condolence. Nothing hurts more than harsh words said by close people, so you always have to consider your partner’s feelings when it comes to complicated and incomprehensible situations.
Main steps to conflict resolution in a relationship are the following:
- Pay attention not only to external but also internal conflicts;
- Learn about conflicts as much as possible;
- Understand the nature of the conflict.
These conflict resolution steps are paramount and universal, no matter what the cause of disagreement between you and your partner is, learning about true feeling and reasons for every unpleasant moment is the way to building a strong and healthy relationship.
Marital conflicts are divided into two types: either in a matrimonial role or in a parental role. Conflict in marriage is common but more complex phenomenon. It seems that people know each other well, they have got used to some features in partner’s nature, and changes in mood can talk about their feelings freely, but, nevertheless, something causes spouses to numb their emotions from time to time. Such lies of omission lead to arising new conflicts and quarrels. In fact, there are three ways of conflict resolution in marriage and learning how to solve all the occurring problems independently, without bringing them into clash and abuse.
How to Resolve Conflict in Marriage?
- Recognize that both sides are always involved in a conflict. It is very difficult to admit because people want to put all the blame on the partner. This is the starting point for peaceful family life, establishing good and harmonious relationships.
- Recognize that if you want to eliminate quarrels, swearing, scandals and conflicts from your relationships, it is YOU who need to take the FIRST step towards reconciliation. In this case, you shouldn’t give up at the first failure, the correct reaction of the partner to your actions, words, and behavior will surely appear but not immediately.
- The third magical way to resolve family conflicts is a voice recorder. Record your conflict on tape and then listen to it. Do not blame the partner but try to hear from recording the keywords and points that have created the conflict. This is a very powerful tool.