Building the Foundations to a Healthy Relationship Part Two
In Part One of Building the Foundations to a Healthy Relationship, I briefly introduced the concept of “managing” conflicts rather than attempting to resolve them. The goal again is NOT to focus on how to resolve the conflict but on how the other person is feeling and to better understand why they feel that way. In order to manage a conflict with your partner one must have understanding, cooperation and persuasion.
Let’s start with understanding each other. Easy right? Maybe some days but when it comes to those bigger conflicts, you may think you understand your partner’s perspective but don’t be surprised if when you ask them and you get a different answer. So what do we do about it?
Well first we must buy into this concept that in every interaction with your partner, there are two valid realities, not just one. Wait what??? Yup, you heard me! Two people can be in the same place at the same time and have a completely different experience. Therefore, we must try to understand each person’s view of their reality, their perception and how they came to that conclusion. Their perception has come from their experiences in life whether that is from their upbringing, family values, their childhood, etc. So try to encourage your partner to talk about their thoughts, feelings and where their beliefs came from. When they are sharing, listen. Don’t be so quick to throw your thoughts into the discussion. Let your partner know that they are being understood and heard. Wait for your partner to finish and then after they are completely finished (uninterrupted) then switch and share your perspective.
Give this a try with any conflict and see how you and your partner feel after having improved understanding of each other. In the next post, I will share some strategies on how to improve cooperation in order to manage conflicts.