When the disagreement ignites and words are exchanged, usually the couple may feel inclined to solve the problem right then in there. This, in fact, is not always the wisest idea because when tempers are flaring, thinking and decision making becomes more sporadic and irrational, making for poor outcomes. Instead, take a breather. Go your separate ways for a few hours, get some coffee, or take a walk. Clear your head and really just think about the problem and sort it out with yourself. Once you have worked out your inner conflict then you can work out the conflict with the other person.
A. It is very important to listen and communicate effectively. When you ask your partner why he or she is angry, do not interrupt them when they answer, even if what they are saying may be exaggerated, or even completely false. Listen to everything they have to say, think of your response, and then respond quickly. Showing emotion is important, as it proves you are human. But going off the wall over miscommunication or misunderstanding is a good way to end the relationship instead of the conflict.
B. If the fight gets bad enough and you are trying to make decisions, do not begin thinking of all the other times your partner has offended you. That is like trying to put out a fire with petrol. What you should do is think of all the times he or she has proven their love to you, or has gone out of their way for you. Think of how you feel about them as a whole rather than at that very moment. The goal is to harvest forgiveness rather than breed resentment.
C. Stop yelling at and and shouting at each other in the course of talking about the problem. You must both agree to respect the opinions of each other.
D. You and your partner should never keep a running tally of wins and losses in your negotiations. Sadly this is one of the biggest mistakes that couples make. Most people will not admit this out loud, but the are keeping score internally, just waiting for the day they finally get to win the argument.
Compromise is not a sign of personal weakness.
E. Avoid harsh language. Even though you may be right, you may not get your way if your method of communicating is not effective. It will do you no good to put your partner on the defensive right away with accusatory language. Sure, this technique may intimidate and belittle your partner into backing down, but you will also make them angry and resentful of your ways. Every time you or your partner call each other stupid or an idiot, a little bit of your relationship gets destroyed in the process. On top of that, the original problem will get lost in a storm of abuse, and nothing gets solved.
F. Avoid the words or else. You better come home early tomorrow, or else. But the real question should be: Or else what? What will you really do if your partner ignores your request? How will you retaliate? The problem with this choice of words is that very few people respond favorably to a threat and will actually do the opposite just to show that they won't be forced into a specific action.
G. Set the right stage for discussion and negotiation of the problem. There is a correct time and place to work on your problems. it should be a location that is both quiet and comfortable. It should not be in public or at home of a friend. Forgetting to set the scene is a crucial blunder made by a lot of couples.
H, Solve the problem as soon as it arises. Many people try to solve a problem when the partner has made a big blunder after about 100 mistakes. But by then it IS simply too late. The longer you allow your partner to get away with unacceptable behavior, the harder it will be to have any power to get them to stop. If you hold your tongue and just hope that your partner will change on their own, do not complain that you never get what you need.
I. Call a break in the discussion. When you and your partner have been sitting there for hours still talking without a compromise, it may be time to call it quits for the time being and readdress the problem again later. When you both get tired and start to go round and round, it is acceptable to say, How about if we agree to disagree for now and pick up our discussion later when we are both fresh?
J. Finally, Say Iam sorry if you act in a disrespectful or hurtful way toward your partner. This one is short and sweet. You are not perfect. Once in a while you may unintentionally or intentionally hurt the feelings of your partner. So swallow your pride, apologize and ask for forgiveness. By the same token, you should also expect an Iam sorry from your partner if your feelings were hurt by disrespectful behavior.
I have now armed you with some very important negotiating and compromising tools to use in any disagreement. Please put them into good use.
Relationships can be challenging at times, but with a little communication, listening, and self recognition, they can be very successful.
Tupe Maoni Yako, Matusi Hapana!