One of the most exciting things we experience throughout our lives is entering a new relationship - we can’t stop thinking about the other person and want to spend as much time as possible with them. Some call this period "the honeymoon stage" and unfortunately, this is usually a passing period. As time passes, things begin to surface, and you notice that the other person is not as perfect as you once thought.
Further on in the relationship, you encounter disagreements and arguments. But there are couples who manage to maintain their relationship despite (and maybe because of) all the conflict, and some who have difficulty doing so. That’s why we collected the 8 best techniques you can use to avoid relationship problems and live a happy life at home, at work, and in any other environment.
When a person who is important to you points out a problem or shares with you something that is bothering them, your fear of being hurt makes you go on the defensive and reject what has been said. This fear may cause you to shout at that person, hide secrets from them, and may actually lead you to behave in a manner that is not unlike you. There is no magic formula that helps us deal with conflict, which is why it’s worthwhile and even desirable to create a comfortable environment for conversation while setting rules on how to communicate with one another during a conflict.
First, you must remember and remind the other person that you are on the same side, and your goal is to cooperate to understand how to solve the problem and not to try to prove who‘s in the right and who’s in the wrong. Avoid questions that begin with "why?" - because they make our brain respond automatically - instead ask "what happened?." When the argument begins to escalate, slow the conversation down and try talk with respect, each in turn - calm yourself down, keep eye contact with the person in front of you and give them your full attention. Avoid words like "always" and "never" when you want to describe what is bothering you and express what you feel following the other person’s actions instead of just criticizing them.
2. In times of conflict, use your emotions and offer solutions
It is common for one spouse to try to fix the conflict by providing solutions, while the other will simply want to be comforted. Everyone has two parts of the brain, one that is logical and one that is emotional. What is important to know is that when one partner activates the emotional side, the thinking part is automatically closed off and vice versa - that explains why we sometimes make illogical decisions when we are overwhelmed by feelings. To resolve conflicts with your partner you need to connect to your emotional side, calm them down and then fire up the logical part of the brain.
First, you should listen to your partner and get used to accepting their feelings. For example, when your partner tells you what’s bothering them, before giving advice, say something comforting. This may be strange at first, but the more you do it, the more naturally it will come to you. Once the partner feels understood, then it will be time to check whether he or she is ready to direct the conversation into a brainstorming session so that you can solve the problem together using the logical side of your brains.
In order to best convey your feelings to your partner, you must understand, and perhaps share, the story behind your feelings. As a result, you will have the ability to understand why you feel the way you feel, which will give you control over the situation and make it easier to solve the crisis. In addition, when something in your partner's behavior bothers you, it can lead to anger and insults. Therefore, when you feel hurt by your partner, friend, or co-worker you need to keep calm and communicate with them in a quiet way instead of slapping them with insults and accusations.
When sharing, simply tell what happened to you, and try to note the feelings you experienced so that you can help the other side understand what happened. For example, instead of saying, "You were very annoying today," expand and say, "You made me feel anxious when you did “A” and it made me feel bad." Also, try to avoid pressing sensitive points, take a deep breath and ask thought-provoking questions instead of fighting each other. For example: If your partner doesn’t put his/her shoes away when coming home, don’t complain about it, rather say, "It really frustrates me when you don’t put your shoes away, and it is exhausting having to pick up after you all the time, what do you think we can do about it?
Once one spouse tries to control the other through demands, the relationship is compromised. In this way, your spouse is unable to be themselves, and often they will feel that they have to walk on eggshells around you. Such tyranny, or behaviors, sometimes result from lack of self-confidence and anxiety, so if you find yourself (or your spouse) doing this, you should talk about it and delve into the cause of this behavior together.
Instead of asking your partner to stop doing something or start doing things in a certain way, try to encourage conversations on the subject, and if your partner does not agree with you then look for other alternatives together. Make sure to voice that you don’t appreciate when they tell you what to do, and would prefer if they asked you to do things rather than demanding them. Remember, even though you are a couple, it is important that there be resected boundaries.
In long-term relationships, there are often long and bitter arguments, during which neither spouse can remember what started them. This can get to the point where one of you claims that you are angry about one thing, but in fact, you are actually angry about something completely different. As a result, both of you find yourself exhausted and frustrated as you both fail to understand what your partner is actually trying to say. Therefore, you must dig deep during such an argument to find out what real frustration lies beneath the surface.
Ask questions to help your partner identify and define what it is that’s really bothering them. Speak respectfully and calmly and find out if there is anything deeper than what they are pointing out to you. The next time an argument starts, even over something trivial, ask yourself, "What is the real reason for my partner's anger and what is he/she trying to convey to me?" Guiding questions will help you and your partner get to the bottom of the problem and solve it too.
When it comes to relationships, most of us are afraid to be vulnerable because it means we have no way to protect ourselves if someone tries to hurt us. The more we get hurt, the harder it will be to be vulnerable, because we obviously won’t want to feel that pain again - that's why we naturally try to protect ourselves at such moments. Paradoxically, being vulnerable means leaving an opening to being hurt, but it is also the only situation where an intimate and serious relationship can exist. If you put on a mask and don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable, you won’t feel connected to others because you aren’t letting them see the real you.
When you are hurt, ask for what you want and need for you to feel good: share your feelings with your partner; speak freely about what you want from your partner instead of talking about what you don’t want; be honest with your thoughts and desires and don’t beat around the bush. Take the time you need to calm down so you can really be present in the conversation.
The longer a relationship lasts, the more you are drawn to your habits and routines. To make sure your relationship stays happy and fresh it is very important to combine common pastimes with routines that can make you both happy, increase your creativity, solve problems and relieve tensions in your relationship. When you choose to spend time together in such activity, you actually lower your defenses and let yourself go, leading to an opportunity of a real, open, and vulnerable connection.
You must make sure to schedule times for shared breaks. Explore together and discover new things that you can do, or bring back old shared activities that you used to enjoy in the past. There are many diverse options ranging from traveling to a romantic getaway or even playing a box game and drinking wine together. Be sure to incorporate into your relationship the things that make you smile and laugh together, which will help your relationship to thrive and develop further.
Dr. Gary Chapman categorized the languages of love into five categories: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Being aware of your partner's love language can teach you how to express your love to them in the way they feel it most. And "speaking" one's language of love on a regular basis will help you maintain and enhance your marital satisfaction.
You need to find your natural love language and then your partner's love language, so you can learn about ways to express your love best. Click here to get to know the five languages of love by Dr. Gary Chapman and learn how each is expressed and what you need to do to speak your partner’s language of love.