Conflicts Dont Have to Mean a Fight to the Death

Although conflict in marriage is inevitable, fighting is optional.

The secret is in how you approach and handle the conflict. It can make the difference between a really great relationship and a breakup looking for a place to happen.

With that notion in mind, let's take a look at five styles of handling conflict, along with alternative solutions for each.

Ready-Fire-Aim: These folks are the shooters of conflict.

They live by the motto "cross me and you will pay." Instead of ready-aim-fire, they shoot first and ask questions later. This style causes lots of damage and usually serves to isolate the shooter.

An alternative solution, in the words of St. Francis and Stephen Covey, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." If you take the time to understand someone and that person's point of view, it's a whole lot easier to keep your shooter in its holster.

Crock potters: They let a conflict simmer for a while. Sometimes it can be as harmless as needing to mull things over before handling conflict. At their worst, crock potters simmer and seethe, building resentments, blowing up or both.

It can be healthy and productive to mull it over before you respond in a conflict. But instead of allowing it to boil over, agree on a time you will sit down together and calmly address the conflict.

Me right/you wrong: This style of conflict really is as primitive as Tarzan. People who hold tightly to the right to be right can go to just about any length to prove they are right, even to the point of ending the relationship.

The alternative solution is to punt. Give up the right to be right. Check out what you might be able to learn from the other point of view, which might even be as valid as your own. Shocking, I realize, but highly possible. The simple truth is that in marriage there are times when you can be right or be happy, but not both.

Tomb-ers: They elevate the infamous silent treatment to an art form. Conflict arises and they shut down. When you ask what's wrong, their reply is either "nothing" or "everything's fine," but you know better.

Usually tomb-ers have a strong fear of conflict, believing that any conflict will end the relationship. Quite the opposite is true -- not dealing with the conflict can kill the relationship from within. Here are some words to begin with: "Can I tell you what I'm uncomfortable with here?"

Historians: They remember every fault, mistake and blunder ever made by their partner, including what was said, what you wore and where you were standing at the time. And they're more than willing to remind you, in detail.

An alternative solution is to get a dry-erase board and write the current conflict on the blank board. Deal with it. Resolve it. Erase it. Over, done with, gone.

I'm guessing that you have identified your partner's style of conflict. Now, read back through the categories and ask yourself: Which one am I?

Jeff Herrring, MS, LMFT is a marriage and family therapist, relationship coach, speaker and nationally syndicated relationship columnist, and founder and CEO of http://www.Couples-Connection.com. You can email Jeff at [email protected] and sign up for his f'ree internet newsletter "Couples-Connection on his website at http://www.Couples-Connection.com

In The News:

How to Mend a Work Relationship  Harvard Business Review
What Playfulness Can Do for Your Relationship  Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

The Economics of True Love

In the real world, can there be romance without finance?... Read More

How To Tell If Someone You Meet In An Online Profile Or Advert Is Married/Partnered Or A Troll - 3

Liar, Liar! Pants On Fire!Today, you'll learn about 2 yellow-flag... Read More

Importance Of Background In A Relationship

Should coming from the same background be a major issue... Read More

All About Soul Mates

1. How do I know when I've met my Soul... Read More

Great Relationships: 4 Big Relationship Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Relationship Mistake No. 1 - Partner BashingBashing the one you... Read More

Destroyers of Relationships

Communication and listening is very important in any relationship. For... Read More

Great Relationships: How to Get the Spark Back

Losing the spark - simply, if you will, falling out... Read More

Love Problems

Often times when a couple gets married, things get pushed... Read More

Great Relationship Advice: The Ability to Create a Vision for Your Relationship

Many of us stumble into marriage and then continue to... Read More

One of The Main Reasons Why Relationships Fall Apart

I had the priviledge to try out a BMW M5... Read More

I Said Yes, I Meant No, and Now I Want Out

Imagine this; you have the opportunity to go away for... Read More

When A Two-Salary Income Fails

While this may not apply to everyone, you may find... Read More

3 Principals That Will Keep a Long Lasting Relationship

Many of us have had a broken heart and hurt... Read More

Are the Neighbors Next Door Secretly Swinging?

The swinging lifestyle does not discriminate against race, body type,... Read More

Passions Search for Destiny

She was haunted by a man whom she had never... Read More

Whats Up With Unconditional Love?

To tell you the truth, I'm a little disillusioned with... Read More

How To Change A Loved Ones Annoying Habits

Is there someone close to you who has an annoying... Read More

How a Three Letter Word Kills Good Relationships

"You know, I really do love fish!" My friend... Read More

Bring Back the Cilice Belt

Among Dan Brown's many accomplishments is bringing the cilice belt... Read More

What Is A Boundary In A Relationship?

You might ask yourself, I have heard this word boundary,... Read More

The Breakdown of Relationships and Why They Fail

All females need sexual tension from a prospective or existing... Read More

The Three Levels of Soul Mates

From my own personal experience of being involved in certain... Read More

5 Ways to Tell Your Man You Love Him

Telling your man that you love him is part of... Read More

Relationhip Advice: How to Have Fun Together

Work. Bills. Kids. Chores.Etc.All these things get in the way... Read More

Are You Fit To Love?

is the most important question you'll ever ask yourself. Let's... Read More