Where there’s a relationship, there’s sure to be conflict to some degree. Most people associate the word “conflict” as a negative force in their relationship. However, it’s important to realize that conflict within any close relationship is inevitable. Rather than perceiving this conflict as a source of relationship deterioration, consider viewing it as a necessary catalyst for growth and change within your relationship. When conflict arises, try incorporating this tried and true process for resolving conflict effectively and efficiently.
1. Identify the conflict - The first step is to define the issue causing conflict. Incorporate some perception checking dialogue into your argument and make sure you and the other party/ies are on the “same page” in terms of the conflict. In other words, be sure that there is a common source of contention.
2. Examine solutions - Now that you have articulated precisely the issue you need resolved, the next step is to consider possible solutions. This needs to be a team effort. Discuss all possible methods for solving this problem together and agree to implement the best idea offered.
3. Implement the solution - After you agree to try the best solution, you now have the opportunity to test that solution by incorporating it into everyday life. Put the solution into operation and take note of its effectiveness and how you both felt during the implementation. It has to work for all involved for it to be a viable resolution.
4. Evaluate the solution - The most important stage of the series is to decide if the solution tested will be sufficient as a resolution to the problem. Although the solution may be one of compromise, each person should feel as though there is equity in terms of the gain to loss ratio of the solution. If all parties agree that the solution worked well, adopt the solution into everyday life. If a consensus cannot be reached, you will need to go back to the proverbial drawing board by revisiting step two and run another solution through the process until you find one that all parties are willing to accept.
While there is no way to avoid occasional conflict in a close relationship, there are ways to use conflict as a tool to build a healthy, more satisfying bond. Conflict has the potential to be a deteriorating force in any relationship. But, it also has the power to promote growth and intimacy. Enduring conflict can mean opportunities to address concerns and to mature within the relationship. Handling your conflict using the method mentioned above can help you work through these challenging situations in a more productive manner (note: productive does not always = easy).