It is a sore sight when two grown adults are locked in a heated argument.
Both trying to send their points home. Being caught in the middle of this squabble, one cannot help but become confused (especially when you are friends with both of them).
Conflict is an essential part of life. It is an avenue for outbursts. An opportunity to loosen up and let the tension, hurt, and anger out. The importance of conflict cannot be overemphasized.
One trying to deny the existence of conflict is like one trying to deny the fact that he defecates. No matter how unpleasant it may be, it is a reality as long as there are humans on earth.
While conflict is inevitable in society, it shows up in almost every human gathering. School, church, family, government, workplace, etc. The list is limitless.
As long as two people have decided to be together, conflict is bound to occur. During the early stages of a relationship, there wasn’t much conflict. There might not be any conflict at all. This is because of the euphoria ( or something I’d rather call intoxication) of the newfound love.
Nobody would want to hurt the other person. And each person will pretend not to notice some tiny faults here and there. This state of peace lasts until the euphoria wears off.
When the faults become glaring and intolerable, what do you do? When handled well, conflict in romantic unions can enable relational partners to learn about each other and foster a sense of cohesion and commitment (Siegert & Stamp, 1994 ).
When not managed well, conflict can have negative implications for the relationship and the relational partners (Zacchilli, Hendrick, & Hendrick, 2009 ).
It is what you do during these fights that matter not the fight itself. One of the facilitators for my INEC training for ad-hoc staff, during one of her lectures, said and I quote: “attack the question, not the person”.
Judging from a classroom setting, you’ll find this quote to be very useful for keeping the peace in the class. But outside the classroom, this quote comes in rather handy.
I will say: “attack the problem, not the person”. Conflict is a two-edged sword. It can make or mar. It can build or destroy. As earlier suggested, the outcome of the conflict is largely dependent on how it is handled.
For effective handling of couple fights, couples should endeavour to:
Take turns to speak. Let one person go first before the other person. Bear in mind that you are attacking the problem and not the person. Speak only about the issue at hand. Say what you find offensive and what you expect from your partner.
True, you have a lot to say whether in defence or against the other person. Once, your partner has started talking, keep quiet and listen. By listening, you save yourself a lot of energy that would have gone into a further argument. Listening brings clarity. Clarity brings understanding. And when understanding is reached, the conflict is half solved.
Take note of the things you did wrong. Take note of what you could have done instead.
Acknowledge the wrongs. Whether you see it as truly wrong or not. A saying goes, “different strokes for different folks”. It might not seem wrong to you but it might be so wrong to the other person. Accept responsibility. Own your mistakes and apologize.
Ask your partner to forgive you and promise to do better next time. Effectively work towards being better every day. A couple’s fight can either be good or bad.
When handled well, the bond between couples becomes stronger. They understand each other better and help grow each other. But when not handled well, the relationship can hit rock bottom.