Somebody asked me a really important question yesterday – “Does conflict in relationships always have to have a solution?”
To answer that question, perhaps we should think about why conflict happens in the first place.
I wrote a blog recently called “Relationship Misunderstandings and why they happen” (click HERE to read it). In the post I explained how in a relationship, each partner has their own unique perspective on any given situation, based on their own core beliefs about themselves, the world, and other people. These core beliefs are shaped by each partner’s individual experiences – either from childhood, past relationships, social, cultural economic and environmental factors – the list goes on.
I discussed how it is as though each partner has their own coloured lens that they view the world through, and that there are infinite colours available. No one person has exactly the same coloured lens as another. Just as fingerprints are unique.
Each partner’s reality is slightly different.
This means that in a conflict situation, both yours and your partner’s experience of that conflict will be different. The meaning of the conflict will be different to each of you. The importance of the issue might be different. You will both have different feelings and the strength of those feelings will be different. The interpretation of what is happening will vary.
What’s important to understand in conflict is that both of your experiences and feelings are valid, even if you fundamentally disagree with each other. What counts is how you manage the situation.
Just as we don’t question whether our partner’s fingerprints are “valid” just because they don’t match ours, nor should we focus our energy on trying to convince our partner that their experience of the conflict isn’t valid because it doesn’t match ours.
All that will happen is that you will both feel unheard.
Feeling unheard, over and over again, can in time lead to resentment and disconnection.
Conflict cycles start. You repeat the same arguments over and over again. You get stuck in that cycle. This can feel incredibly frustrating because Nature likes to complete cycles, and you are part of Nature.
And this is where conflict can be left unresolved.
Because of each of you have different experiences and points of view, there will be times when a mutually agreeable solution to a problem isn’t obvious or forthcoming. But the problem isn’t always that the issue itself has been left unresolved due to not finding a solution. It’s often the fact that you haven’t felt heard or understood that leaves you with a feeling of incompleteness or frustration.
If you both feel heard and respected by each other in your opposing viewpoints, feelings and experiences, the issue, whether or not you can agree on a solution, can feel far less important.
So next time you and your partner feel frustrated because you are not feeling heard, try really listening to each other:-
- Put your own thoughts and feelings aside just temporarily and ask your partner about how they feel.
- Be open to hearing their response.
- Repeat what they have said back to them to make sure you have understood their message clearly.
Just this simple act can be enough to diffuse a conflict situation from escalating into an argument.
Do you have any thoughts or feelings about this that you would like to share? If so I would love to hear from you! Just contact me by email or through my Facebook Page, Krystal Woodbridge Relationship Coach.
Take care for now and remember, just like a beautiful garden, always maintain and tend to your relationship to feel it thrive!
Your Nature-Inspired Relationship Coach,
P.S. COMING SOON – If you would personally like my expert support to learn the EXACT techniques and steps to resolve conflict cycles effectively without hurt, anger and frustration, you will soon be able to sign up for my Compassionate Conflict for Couples E-Course. At just £99 it is incredible value for at least 8 hours of coaching, and the first 10 people who sign up will receive a bonus 1:1 coaching call with me, absolutely FREE! These places will go fast and are strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you would like any further information about this course or want to be notified as soon as it is released, or have anything else that you would like help with, I would be delighted to hear from you. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.