Every marriage has more than its fair share of conflicts. There is no point avoiding them or glossing over them. The trick lies in ensuring that the conflict is a healthy one and you learn from it. If the same issue comes up again and again, it means that the root cause has not been attacked and hence it surfaces repeatedly.
When two individuals with differing personalities and temperaments come together, there is bound to be a difference of opinion. In the early days of a relationship or even a marriage, each one tends to be more tolerant and eager to keep the romance alive. This tolerance helps to resolve differences quicker and makes for smooth sailing.
The problems start when the tolerance begins to get diluted. And this normally happens in direct proportion to the love you feel for your partner, or maybe certain extraneous issues like children entering into the picture, which can rob you of the closeness you used to share as a single unit.
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It is at this stage that conflicts become more difficult to handle and emotional outbursts tend to escalate, leading to hurt feelings and pent-up resentment. So how do you go about resolving differences and arriving at a satisfactory solution and yet not being unfair to your partner?
1. Keep an open mind
When the two of you have a problem, don't rush in to launch an attack and put him on the defensive. Give him a fair share of talk time and open your senses to what he has to say. Look at him, listen to him and let him tell you his side of it. If you really pay attention sometimes, you might be surprised to discover that it makes perfect sense and you were getting worked up over nothing.
2. Give him the benefit of the doubt
Don't jump into making snap judgments. If you are upset with him over something, first try and reason it out in your mind. It might make you look at the situation from another angle. Instead of just taking the high road and assuming that you are right, look at it from his point of view and you may see a way out on your own, without blowing it out of proportion.
3. Respect your partner
Avoid clinging to your narrow way of seeing things. Let's say you have a difference of opinion over what kind of car to buy. Suppose your partner has done a lot of research on it and generally knows a lot about this kind of thing, but you had your heart set on a certain car, don't hang on to your preconceived notions. Value his knowledge on the subject and defer to his wisdom in this instance.
4. Don't sit on your high horse
Very often in a marriage, there is one person who is always demanding and the other who is giving in. But this situation cannot go on for long, which is when trouble starts. If you are the one constantly making demands on your partner, be sure that he/she will not tolerate it for long. Start being more flexible and try to be the one who makes some adjustments too.
5. Don't complain to others
Whatever are your differences, keep them between the two of you. It is detrimental to a relationship if you go around bad-mouthing your partner in public. And even worse, talking to somebody in his presence about how badly he treats you. This is not to say that you should talk behind his back. Keep your differences private and have nothing but good things to say to others about your partner.
6. Don't lay the guilt trip
When you have differences, fight a fair fight. You might get emotional at times, but don't use tears to get your way. Or emotional blackmail either. Like telling him that the last time he didn't listen and went ahead and did something you didn't approve of, you didn't sleep three nights in a row and your blood pressure went up, etc. He might give in this time, but you are only causing bitterness to fester, that he has to be the one giving in always. Ultimately, apathy will set in and you will reach an impasse.
Remember, getting your way is not the issue here, or if you feel it is, you're not getting the point. The focus is on mutually resolving differences to the satisfaction of all concerned, but most importantly, retaining the love and respect of your partner while doing it.