Wouldn’t it be great if you could just once and for all settle your disagreements, resolve your conflicts, and then be done with it, forever! Aaaah, what peace!
This is the state most of us aim for in our relationships. We talk and talk and talk; fight, argue, yell, withdraw, and nag in the vain hope (or “secret fantasy” as we call it) that one day we’ll get it settled and we can rest.[Speaking of conflicts, check out our free evening, Connecting Through Conflict]
If you’ve been in any significant relationship lasting more than a few months, or at least past the Honeymoon Phase, you know very well that that conflict-free day never arrives.
We had a couple in our office the other day. Beautiful couple, well-spoken, pleasant demeanor, intelligent and well-intentioned. And they’d been arguing ever since the honeymoon ended years ago, about pretty much the same stuff over and over again.
We want to tell you what we told them, for starters. It may sound overly simple, but until you really let this sink in, you’re set up to have the same conflicts continue in a never-ending, life-sucking loop.
- The ONLY reason you keep having the same arguments and frustrating conversations over and over again is that you don’t have a reliable and effective way to deal with your conflicts. If you did, you wouldn’t need to have the same argument twice, ever!
- If you’ve been having the same fights and arguments over and over again, you can know with certainty that the way you’re going about it is inefficient at best, pointless and counterproductive at worst.
- Until you find and learn a reliable, effective way to deal with your conflicts, you may as well stop talking about them, because chances are every time you do, you just end up more frustrated!
- Stop wishing for conflicts to go away. They won’t! As a matter of fact, you don’t even want them to go away, not really. Contrary to what most of us automatically believe, having conflicts is not a sign that something is wrong with you, your partner, or your relationship. Your conflicts are actually born of your commitments and desires, and can and should be used for the purpose of deepening intimacy and strengthening your trust.
Granted, it does take some skill to navigate conflicts with grace and efficiency. But I’ll tell you, if we could give only one gift to any couple (or anyone in relationship, period), amongst all the crucial and must-have skills and traits that exist, we’d give them the skill and ability to deal with their conflicts in a good way.
Even if you have everything else going for you, if you don’t have the conflict-piece down, your chances of lasting love and easy happiness are extremely slim. The road to happy-ever-after is strewn with the carcasses of potentially wonderful relationships that expired because the little conflicts mounted and took the hopeful lovers out! And it’s just unnecessary to be taken down by the everyday conflicts, which are inevitable and which will be part of your relationship for as long as you’re together.
Lastly, we want to give you a new way to begin to think about your conflicts. This shift alone has made a massive difference for so many people (us included).
Your conflicts don’t happen TO you. They happen FOR you.
Conflicts show up for you, and for your relationship. What they’re designed to do is let you know that something new wants to happen in your life and in your relationship.
So moving forward, when your next conflict shows up, instead or arguing about it, or doing whatever you’ve been doing up till this point, ask yourself and each other, “If this conflict really were showing up FOR me/us, what would it want to tell me/us?” What is the “new” that wants to happen here?
Don’t resist your conflicts. Use them for a good purpose!
A few next steps to consider ….