Last week, I wrote about having to grow up a bit to get along in the relationship with my husband. When I asked my yoga teacher/guru for relationship advice, he asked me point blank if I even wanted to stay married, then followed with “did I want to be right or did I want peace.”
If you would prefer peace, here are a few simple tips for handling conflct. By the way, these work with any relationship. I often use these with my teenage daughter.
Life isn’t always easy with a teenager in the house (or campervan), but I try to take the long view. Forming a good relationship with her that will last into her adult years is more important than what food she eats or how many chores she does.
One of the goals of our long trip was to spend time together as a family. As the kids get older, it really has become difficult to spend quality family time with school, work, sports and other obligations pulling at us.
While we are definitely getting family time, and sometimes we are in the zone, all having a good time. Other times we aren't quite meshing. We might be tired, hungry, or have spent too much time in the car. That's when I really need to use strategies for overcoming conflict, because I can't "quit the trip," as my nine year old son said.
If you've decided you don't want to "quit the trip," give these three strategies a try.
First, focus on creating a solution instead of focusing on the problem. This is where letting go of being right becomes especially important.
I’ve often found that waiting until the situation has cooled really helps. It’s hard to solve problems when you’re feeling angry or hurt.
Also, wait for a time you can both agree on, so that neither of you feel rushed or preoccupied with something else.
Second, when it’s time to talk, ask how you each could do things differently so that it doesn’t happen again.
Because...conflicts often repeat themselves.
Sometimes you and your partner (or family member, friend, etc.) fundamentally disagree on something or really just like to do things differently. Acknowledging those differences and working with them can change the pattern.
Let's face it sometimes the issues we think are so important aren't as important as your relationship.
This is where compromise can be the name of the game. Ask yourself how important the issue really is to you. If you've ever had a loved one really sick, you find that anything that isn't important melts away. Sometimes I ask myself, "At the end of the day, how important is this."
Third, forgiveness may be the most important part of overcoming conflict.
Being resentful about past mistakes doesn’t do anything good for a relationship! Not only that, it really doesn’t feel good for you, either. If you know that the other person truly does care, than it can be easier to be less angry or less frustrated.
Try to remember that every one is human and makes mistakes. I know I am, as my nine year old son reminded me, when I told him I was writing a blog on this subject!
Now it's your turn. Tell me in the comments below how you've overcome conflict. How have you realized that the relationship is often more important than whatever is bugging you?
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