Even the best of relationships have problems. What’s different is that couples learn how to repair after an argument. This means that you need to talk about it. I know this is not what everyone wants to hear. This is a great way to help build understanding in the relationship. “You must understand the problem before you can solve the problem.” Gottman
Learn how to discuss relationship problems without fighting.
The Gottman’s research found that 69% of problems in a relationship aren’t solvable. So, why don’t you try to stop solving your relationship problems? Sounds simple, right? If you are in a relationship or have been in a relationship, then you know it’s not always that simple. It starts with a conversation. This means one person is the speaker and one is the listener. You each get a turn at each role.
Here are 4 helpful tips on how to discuss relationship problems without fighting:
- Work on understanding one another’s belief system. You didn’t just wake up one day and have your belief system. It started long ago in childhood. You learn your beliefs about relationships from your family of origin. How did your parents make decisions? Were you included in making decisions? The more you talk to one another about your belief system and where it came from, the more you will understand one another. This will help diffuse the conflict and help you come to a compromise together.
- Express what you need. It’s important to tell your partner what you need in the relationship. If you feel you are being micromanaged, then you need to tell your partner. If you feel your partner doesn’t tell you enough, then you need to tell your partner. If you want more help managing the house and the children, then you need to tell your partner. What is the common denominator? You need to tell your partner what you need. This really is the first step. I know it sounds simple. But, I have seen many couples over the years. They aren’t always expressing what they need. After you have expressed what you need, then work on a plan together. This means compromise. A compromise is something both people in the relationship feel good about.
- Do you have a disaster scenario? This is a great time to tell your partner your fears. Maybe, you fear your partner will leave you if you say what you really want in the relationship. Or, you fear your relationship will turn out to be like your parents. You will go broke. Your kids will turn on you. And, the list goes on. Take it a step further and let your partner know where these fears come from. Are they deep rooted? Did you learn them as a child? This is a great way to build understanding in the relationship, which also helps build trust in the relationship.
- Learn to accept influence from your partner. This goes back to listening. Hear your partner out. Take a genuine interest in what your partner’s ideas are. This means you need to take action. Yes, action speaks louder than words. Keep in mind you each come from two different backgrounds. This means that you each bring your own culture into the relationship. It’s almost like you are each speaking two different languages. Take the time to not only learn your partner’s language, but understand it. This will help you discuss relationship problems without fighting. This is also what will help make your relationship stick.
I help couples do this all the time. I use a tool that was developed by The Gottman Institute, called Dreams within Conflict. This takes one of your perpetual problems where you are gridlocked. This means the same problem that keeps coming up over and over, that you just can’t get past. The first step is working on understanding and how you came up with your belief system.
I also have a few other tools that I use to help couples discuss relationship problems without fighting. A relationship is a work in progress. You go through many highs and lows. It’s important to learn how to get through them, and what you can do in the future to make them better when they happen again.
If you like what you read, then visit Relationship Challenges. There are many more articles that will help you learn how to discuss relationship problems without fighting.
Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping couples in San Mateo, CA who are looking to rebuild a close emotional connection and get their relationship back on track. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on www.LessonsforLove.com to learn more about her services and expertise.