Monthly Archives: March 2015

Seven Common Signs That You and Your Partner Are Not Managing Conflict

by Sheri E Ragland

All couples have disagreements. How you as a couple handle the disagreement will determine your progress. Couples can often lack the appropriate communication skills to solve problems. For instance, managing conflict in a healthy manner; or, recognizing that some things can’t be resolved. Have you both considered the need for additional help, if you can’t manage conflict? Seeking the help of a marriage counselor to learn how to manage conflict could help save your relationship? Here are seven common signs that may mean you need marriage counseling?

You and your partner are unable to resolve a reoccurring problem. For many couples, it can be difficult to discuss a problem and find a resolution quickly that will benefit both in the relationship. It may take alternative solutions to address the problem. When you both find a resolution together, you both invest in the problem-solving process.

Ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away. When there is a serious problem, avoiding it means that the problem could negatively impact the relationship in the future. Couples who address the problem through discussion and resolution are in a better position to protect their relationship before damage has a chance to take effect. If the problem is not addressed, it will more than likely resurface again.

Lack of respect for one another when communicating. Being critical, condescending, blaming, cursing, and belittling are mechanisms that destroy your partner’s character and self-esteem. Over time, words of discouragement dangerously lead to the deterioration of the relationship. Your words should encourage at all times. Words set the tone for every discussion – positive or negative. And, such words will define the course of the conversation as well as your future together.

Discussions escalate into arguments and nothing is resolved. Arguments escalate because a) a couple disagrees, b) either is not listening, and, or c) there is a misunderstanding. Arguments emerge from irrational, stubborn, defensive, and angry behaviors that are not controlled. Arguments prevent couples from understanding and hearing the problem as well as addressing it quickly. Humility, respect, and patience are characteristics that help prevent arguments that can escalate; but not differences in opinions.

Not sticking to the facts about the issue. Sticking to the facts about the issue will keep you both focused on the real problem. It may also help you both to recognize the root of the problem as a preventative measure for managing conflict in the future. Now you have a strategy to prevent the problem from managing you both.

Constantly complaining about the issue. Complaining never solves anything and it is a time waster. Identify the problem, talk about it calmly, resolve it, and move forward. The key is to think and speak positive to minimize negativity as much as possible, especially because it is counterproductive.

Lack of forgiveness. Saying you are sorry is the first step in moving forward. It doesn’t matter who does it as long as it is done. Forgiving is an important part of the healing process when damage has been done in a relationship. And, it can be a preventative measure before any damage is done at all. Forgiving is an act of humility and a sign of commitment to your partner. However, it is not a license to condone or practice bad behavior. More couples need to recognize the power in forgiveness and do it more often than not.

Any one or more of the seven issues could spell trouble for you as a couple, especially if the issues are persistent. Figure out if there is a problem and address it together before the problem deteriorates the relationship. Also, it is important to note that all conflicts will not be resolved. The key is to address those issues that can be resolved, even if it means obtaining the help of a marriage counselor in order to move forward.