Can you recall the catchy Jordin Sparks album Battlefield from a few years ago? The refrain is something like:
- I never intended to launch a conflict.
- You are aware that I will never intentionally harm you.
- I’m not sure what we’re struggling over.
- Why is it that love still seems like a battleground?
This song’s YouTube video has been seen over 46 million times, but I’m guessing Sparks is not isolated in her feelings.
Your love does not sound exactly like a war (and I pray it does not), yet I believe this song resonates for so many people because it hits on the reality that a degree of tension is unavoidable in near personal relationships.
Everyone is special. You would not be able to stop confrontation completely no matter how well you know yourself and your mate, or how well you speak each other’s love languages.
You will argue with certain of your partner’s points of view and decisions. You may be irritated or hurt at how they perform (or do not do) such activities. Likewise, any of the behaviors, words, or acts are bound to frustrate or damage them.
4 Ways Conflict May Be Beneficial
Now, few people like conflict, but there is some positive news here. Conflict isn’t a negative thing! The differences between you and your spouse will help you develop as an individual. It is capable of:
- Teach you new ideas and make you view the universe in new ways.
- Encourage you to think beyond the box when it comes to problem-solving.
- Assist you with learning to accept and deal with intense emotional feelings more effectively.
- Invite you to grow your patience, compassion, and concern for others.
4 Ways Conflict May Be Beneficial To Your Relationship
Conflict, when handled constructively, may often intensify and improve the partnership. It is possible…
1. Develop In-depth Awareness And Intimacy
Disagreement will tell you a lot about what you want (and, more importantly, what you don’t want).
It will reveal what is relevant to each person, how you raise or respond to challenges, how you handle consensus and negotiation, and what makes you feel better.
Arguing forces you to rise. It forces you to truly consider yourself and your partner.
2. Get You Together As A Team By Pushing You To Work Together To Fix Problems.
If you will “argue constructively” and “battle well,” you would be able to get to the heart of the issue. For eg, one long-distance couple I know was always arguing over how much time they spent (or did not spend) on the phone. One spouse always wanted to chat for a much longer period than the other.
When they were willing to speak about what was causing the arguments (what they were afraid of or defensive about), they found that with fast 10-20 minute talks every day, one person feels well-connected and comfortable in the partnership. The other spouse, on the other hand, did not. They thought like their shorter phone calls barely went past the surface level, and that they were drifting apart in significant ways.
This pair was then willing to discuss ideas and problem-solve together, and they ended up scheduling a 1-2 hour unhurried phone call or Skype date once a week.
3. It Reinforces The Bond By Increasing Confidence.
A constructive conflict that helps all parties to share their feelings, desires, and unpleasant emotions may help to improve a partnership.
Coming out on the other side of a dispute, or sailing through a hurricane into calmer seas, will help to create confidence in the partnership. Knowing that the partnership will withstand a battle reduces the likelihood of a fight. And since we perceive war to be less dangerous, we prefer to express our complaints faster rather than enabling stress to build up.
4. It Enables You To Comprehend And Investigate “Tiny Problems” Until They Become “Large Issues.”
That adage, “don’t sweat the small stuff,” isn’t so helpful if it simply implies that all of the small stuff is building up into one massive, festering volcano ready to erupt.
Addressing little problems that irritate you both will save you a lot of frustration and bruised feelings later on. If you don’t fix minor problems when they emerge, they sometimes develop into larger issues that are difficult to unpack.
What Exactly Is “Constructive” Fighting?
If any degree of friction is unavoidable in a partnership, how do we make the most of it? Since, let’s face it, most of us dislike confrontation. And if it is beneficial to your health, it is not enjoyable.
So preparing to battle well is the secret to emerging stronger and healthier from war.
There are many books and courses available that teach tools and tips for doing so. However, the fundamental first phase of learning to cope effectively with disagreement is as follows: Recognize how you and your partner react to stress and strain in your interpersonal relationships.
What Is The Significance Of “Understanding”?
Understanding how each of you usually responds to significant variations in beliefs and preferences, or disappointing goals and aspirations, can benefit you in a variety of ways.
You’ll grow to know whether you or your companion is under stress or irritated such that your (or their) responses don’t catch you off guard as much. You can now begin to understand your partner’s normal habits of emotional communication and coping such that you are not as aggressive and protective.
Then, if you can combine this “good comprehension” with “emotional self-control” and “good communication,” you’ll be three-quarters of the way to successfully settling the disagreement. Or much more.
10 Questions To Help You Understand Your Reactions To Stress And Conflict
When it comes to confrontation, what are the default settings?
When we are injured, puzzled, irritated, or furious, we all have those normal reactions.
Consider how you act while you are arguing with a family member. You and they both respond in predictable ways. Let us refer to these natural reactions as our “automatic settings.”
When we are under stress, our default settings are the product of our family heritage, personalities, and life experiences. When we grasp our reactions to pressure and conflict—our default settings—we are more equipped to choose our solutions in any specific case rather than being ruled by them.
Here are a few queries to help you figure out what the default settings are. Try to recall concrete instances of problems with these individuals when you learn about them. Then, create a list of your acts and responses in certain situations:
- How can you treat disagreements with your parents?
- How can you treat disagreements with your friends?
- How can you deal with tension at work?
- How can you treat disagreements in an intimate relationship?
Can you find some fascinating trends of how you behave and respond when confronted with confrontation now that you’ve spent some time going about these questions?
Here are few further questions to consider when you consider your default settings:
- Should you confront tension head-on or stop it?
- Do you choose “hot conflict” (open manifestations of rage and indignation, fighting) or “cool conflict” (stonewalling, or unexpressed irritation and frustration that may accumulate over time)?
- Do you prefer to “compete” to get your way, or do you want to compromise?
- Can you ever strikeout in indignation or rage, or do you want to stop, close down, and declining to resume the conversation?
- Is your solution to confrontation consistent with other cases, or does conflict in personal relationships vary significantly from conflict at work?
Now that you have a basic understanding of your default settings in dispute, consider the tenth and most critical question: How can these default settings harm and support you when you argue with your partner?
What Comes Next?
Next week, I’ll go through several basic tactics for dealing with confrontation. However, before we get to the tactics, here’s one more series of questions to help you learn about how you and your partner usually “do” confrontation.
Understanding your normal behavior and responses in conflict might not be half the war, although it is likely that understanding you’re and your partner’s default settings in conflict is.
So take notes, or leave a comment below, and express your thoughts on one or more of the following statements: