Resolving conflicts: 5 creative solutions
Even in the best marriages best people might have ugly fights and arguments. What would be safe ways of dealing with disagreements?
I am getting ready for no-nagging challenge next month (special thanks to Bea for supporting me in the Ninja Dress challenge). So, I am researching creative solutions for resolving conflicts in marriage.
While using any of these 5 solutions, the most important part is to keep the focus on what is paramount: relationships. Put everything in perspective and ask yourself: “what is more important here: the fact that I love him, he is wonderful man, father and husband or the fact that he will never learn to wash his lunch container?”
With no further due, solutions:
- This suggestion comes from Laura and I love it. Laura and Andrew agreed earlier in marriage to give themselves 1 hour to “kick and scream”. Everything is allowed in this hour: silent treatments, door slamming and etc, but after this hour they have to come up to each other, kiss and cuddle and make up. That is awesome. Nobody is supressing, the issues are out there at the open and relationships are still paramount in this solution. As Laura said: “We are not going to get divorced over it, it is just a discussion”.
- We came up with brainstorming idea. Brainstorming is awesome for complex problems. Money, simplification, chores. We sit down, allow ourselves an hour and brainstorm: ways we can spend less, ways to increase vegetable consumption, ways to deal with our extended family. Key is to allow time, minimise distractions and allow each other a chance to express the opinion. Even the silliest ideas will go on the paper without any censorship and then we choose 5 best ideas and implement them. This way the focus is on the solution and not on “who is doing less around the house” or “who spends more money”. I have even read that each family these days must have monthly discussions on simplification; otherwise life gets too complicated with less time and more fruitless efforts.
- Positive reinforcement is a technique used to increase the desired behaviour. You are “catching” your husband doing something you want him to do and rewarding it. For example, he does not help you with chores, you “catch” him taking out the garbage and praise and kiss and thank him and brag to your sister that husband is really helping you out. Before you know it, husband is washing dishes and cooks for you. Or you “catch” him eating vegetables and express how happy you are, next time he is eating more vegetables and then it becomes his habit and he starts cooking vegetables for himself and family.
- This solution is more in conflict prevention area. Some topics become heated because we do not discuss them, did you notice that? So, in our family there is a little tradition: every night after our daughter goes to bed, we sit down together over a cup of calming tea and just talk about everything for half an hour (at least). We discuss work, plans, dreams, fears – everything. These conversations de-stress, re-connect and have a capacity of unearthing any issues even before we become consciously aware of them. This tradition requires balancing TV out of your life or minimising TV and computer time before bed. The results are worth and will exceed all your expectations, trust me.
- Difficult conversations technique I learned at EASA “Advanced communication skills” training. Say, you want your husband to eat more vegetables. First you have to use neutral language: do not exaggerate (“you eat only sausages”), do not sugar-coat (“let’s try yummy vegies”), do not blame (“because of you, our child is not eating vegetables”). Instead use something like: “the latest research suggests that men who eat 3 serves of vegetables daily, perform in bedroom better and last longer”.
Using the neutral language, you use a blueprint:
I want to talk to you about… vegetable consumption
For instance… yesterday, you did not touch vegetables on your plate
I feel… as if you are not getting enough of vegetables
What’s at stake here is… your longevity and bedroom performance
I may have contributed by… not selecting the vegetables you love/ not raising my concern earlier
What I would like is … to see you live long, happy and fulfilled life with me and without proper diet, it is going to be hard to keep up with me because I am vegan.
What are your thoughts on this?
With this technique expect more positive reaction than usual, because you acknowledge your contribution, however do not expect miracles if the problems is too ingrained.
Control your flight and fight response if conversation is too difficult (do not lash out and do not run away) and concentrate on the problem, not on blaming.
Of course, some topics might be so controversial that you will first have to deal with combat atmosphere around the topic. In this case you will need more work but it is not impossible and the gain is quite considerable: peace, love and openness in the family around any topic. Please email me or comment below, if you want me to research ways on diffusing “combat atmosphere”.
Do you know any other creative solutions for resolving conflicts between two usually loving people?