You know how they say “opposites attract”? That may be true, but attraction doesn’t equate to having the right tools to navigate a healthy relationship. Even if two people are extremely alike, they may not know how to handle conflict when it arises.
The reality is, that all couples will have conflict at some point. It is totally normal to disagree with your partner. It’s all about how you handle these disagreements that will make or break a relationship.
Seek first to understand. NOT to prove your point.
In conflict, it’s often our first response to think about what you’re going to say next or to think of ways prove your point. Make sure you are consciously making an effort to not only hear what your partner is saying, but trying to understand where they are coming from. Don’t talk over each other and keep your tone and volume at an even level as best as possible. Work as a team to solve the issue instead of going against each other. Try not to take things personally.
Understand that you each have a past and triggers.
We were all raised in different households with different families which means we all have a different idea of what’s “normal”. Whether you grew up in a healthy environment or a not-so-healthy one, we all have different triggers that we inherited at some point growing up. It’s important to know what those triggers are so that when they arise, you can recognize them and respond appropriately instead of letting your emotions get the best of you.
It is okay to call “Time-Out”.
Sometimes, naturally, arguments can escalate. When you notice that the discussion has gotten to a point that it is no longer productive, say “time-out”. If both you and your partner agree to both stop the conversation at that moment and take some time separately to cool off and then regroup, it will help keep things productive and respectful. It is important that you always come back together after a few minutes. Don’t use this as a way to give your partner the silent treatment but as a pause to take a moment to calm down.
Having good communication in a relationship takes work. No one is perfect, but healthy relationships acknowledge our imperfections and have grace.