According to The Gottman Institute, “Acknowledging and respecting each other’s deepest, most personal hopes and dreams is the key to saving and enriching your marriage.” This is based from their empirical research in studying couples. They have done over forty years of research with couples. If you are in a relationship, then you have probably noticed that the same problems come up over and over. The research suggests that the perpetual conflict in your relationship may symbolize the differences in your lifestyle and personality. It’s easy in our fast paced world to forget about our dreams or shove them aside. It’s even more frustrating when our partner doesn’t even know what our dreams are. The good news is you can use The Gottman’s Institute research to help overcome gridlock in your relationship. Here are seven helpful tips:
  1. Keep working on your unresolvable conflicts. Couples that are demanding of their relationships are more likely to have a happy and satisfying relationship, than those that have lower expectations.
  2. Keep your dreams alive. Allow yourself to contemplate dreams you have buried in your gridlock. This will help you understand your feelings and wishes that are not being addressed in the relationship.
  3. Complain without blame. Dig deeper and suspend judgment. Come to an understanding that you and your partner have within the conflict. Ask questions and do not attempt to resolve the conflict immediately.
  4. Soothe each other. Gridlock is stressful. Compliment your partner when they speak to you in a nice tone and use soft start-up. You don’t need to rush. If you feel you are incapable of a productive conversation, then take a break.
  5. Accept that some problems are unsolvable. Dr. Gottman has stated, the goal is to declaw the issue, to try to remove the hurt so the problem stops being a source of great pain. 
  6. Define your areas of flexibility. Go into this conversation with a positive attitude. Try to make the areas that you cannot agree on as small as possible.
  7. Work on a compromise. One that will honor both of your dreams. You aren’t looking for a quick fix here. Take time and work on steps that will help you both achieve your goals.
We hope that by taking these steps it will help you manage conflict in your relationship. For more help on how to manage conflict in your relationship, please call us for a consultation at (650) 892-0357.

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