Conflicts are inevitable part of any relationship. Considering the emotional and psychological makeup of the two sexes, and their unlike personalities and upbringing. It is impossible for couples to agree about everything at all times. A healthy partnership must have a room for constructive criticisms. Both parties need to be able to assert their opinions, oppose, and negotiate their differences. Hence, the key is not to fight, but to ‘know how to fight.’
Know your fighting style
The first step is to understand our own personal fighting style. Our family—most especially our parental figures (not necessarily our mom and dad)—plays an influential role in our life. If our mother is a nagger, the odds are that we’ll also become one. If our father is the quiet type, extra tolerant and patient but is like a time bomb that explodes, we may also adopt this type of behavior.
We may also acquire our siblings’ fighting style. Some families simply don’t talk to each other when there’s conflict; they give each other the cold shoulder.
Some fighting styles clash. For example one wants to talk about the issue, the other doesn’t. One pursues, the other evades, so they’re not able to fix the issue. And what they’re fighting about is not the issue anymore but their fighting style. Respect that there times when you cannot immediately resolve a problem. ‘Sometimes, the wife or husband needs to rest, reflect and sleep over it. The spouse should respect that.’
Having good verbal and listening skills means we are able to clearly and accurately repeat the exact message and emotions expressed by our partner, in fewer words. In psychology, this is termed ‘mirroring.’ By affirming what your partner is thinking and feeling, you make him or her feel important and loved. One way to do that is to always confirm if you understand what he is saying. ‘Just a minute… let me see if I got that right. Is this what you’re saying?’ You can also sharpen your active listening skills.
Also recognize emotions. Women are keenly sensitive about emotions, while men have a problem conveying how they feel, and this poses a problem in a relationship. Couples should learn to understand and empathize with their partner and develop emotional maturity, which is vital to a successful marriage.
Be aware of timing
A dialogue will only be productive if both parties are willing to talk and listen. If your partner requests for time to process his or her thoughts and emotions, by all means, give it.