We've all been there. One minute life is going along as normal, and the next minute, some seemingly small thing has set us off. She left a dirty dish in the sink again! She's driving too fast, after I asked her not to! She never does her share of the cleanup! Suddenly, our anger swells, and knocks us off-balance.
CONFLICT AND COUPLES
It’s an ongoing art-form to learn how to communicate more effectively in order to deal with conflict and increase intimacy and connection.
Would you rather be happy or win an argument? While we have a natural tendency to prove ourselves "right", our relationships are more important than petty issues. To be a real winner, consider your partner's emotional needs over the conflict.
Relationship therapist Dr. Rhoberta Shaler share the number one things couples should NEVER do. Read on to learn what it is so you avoid it in your marriage.
Bottom line: There are two different ways to listen to our partner – problem-solving listening and empathic listening. Oftentimes we get into conflict because we are not using the type of listening that is needed or expected by our partner, which can result in hurt feelings on both sides. By learning how to utilize both types listening and when to use which type of listening and why, you and your partner will be better able to understand and support each other.
As I have mentioned before in this series (The Eight Simple Rules to Managing Conflict), the biggest key to effectively resolving conflict is preparation. When we have time to prepare we do much better in resolving conflict than when it is thrust upon us and all we can do is react. When I mediate conflicts, I include a preparation and coaching phase with both parties individually before I ever bring them together. This added phase is critical to a successful mediation, resulting in both parties being prepared, goal-focused, and ready for resolution.
There are two components to every argument/conflict…the conflicting issue (the “what”) and the interpersonal dynamics during the conflict (the “how”). Guess which one is most important? That’s right, the “how.” Very simply, how you do conflict will directly impact the outcome of the conflict itself. If you are kind, respectful, constructively assertive and focused on win-win outcomes, you’ll get one kind of results.
I had a love-hate relationship with my old boss. The love part was my incredible respect for this former Olympic gold medalist turned CEO of one of the leading professional development companies in the world. He was one of those people who could make an audience laugh, cry, and get inspired—all at the same time. People always came up to me after one of Terry’s amazing speeches to say how lucky I was to work for this man. I’d smile and say, “I sure am”, knowing I was lying through my teeth.
“I need a volunteer…Greg?” Wow, that was more like telling than asking, I thought. “Sure Ron, I’d be glad to volunteer.” Ron asked me to stand in front of the group as he approached. I knew he picked me for a reason but wasn’t quite sure why…that is until his hands hit my chest with such force that I stumbled back a couple of steps. “What are you doing?” I yelled, trying to regain my composure.
…In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from above. Tighten the mask by pulling on the straps like this. If you are traveling with a child, place your mask on first before assisting them... Whenever I hear that part of the flight attendant’s pre-flight spiel, I always smile. I smile because my gut instinct would be to place the mask on a child first—had I not repetitively heard that directive. But I get the idea—save yourself so you can save others!
Assertiveness-Getting What You Want In the world today we are faced with many choices. We are all built with the instinct for fight or flight when faced with confrontation. But there is a third way--it is to speak up with an assertative voice about what we really want and need in life.
When January rolls around, tradition suggests making all sorts of resolutions. However, they all have one thing on common: They get broken. Statistically, 25 percent of New Year's resolutions are broken in the first week, and 90 percent by the end of February!
(A conversation during a coaching session) Me: Tom, how are things going with Nancy? Tom: Well…not that great actually. Me: What do you mean? Last time we talked you were all excited about dating her. Tom: I know. But things have changed. She’s blown me off.