In my last post, I suggested using effective language in order to bring about peace and progress among conflict in dating. Conflict resolution is important in every relationship. Here are some practical tips to deal with conflict and move on from the hurt:
1. Take a break. If you are too heated to talk, go for a walk or a run. Watch a movie, write about your feelings, call your mom or some other friend. The important thing is to get your mind off of the fight for a little while. Many times you gain some insight or perspective that can guide you through the later discussion (once you both cool off).
2. Give it enough time. Many of us want to resolve our conflicts right away because we can’t stay in a state of mind that is marked by unrest. We feel as if we’re carrying around unfinished business. And we are, truthfully. But this may not be a bad thing, despite how it feels.
3. Forgive. As I mentioned, taking time to reflect will inevitably lead to some perspective and a new outlook that you wouldn’t have seen before. This is a good thing. We usually see ourselves as the hapless victim in the face of a problem. But after some careful self-examination, we could begin to see how we played into the factors that led to the problem. As the adage goes, it takes two. It always does. Keep this in mind.
4. Put it into perspective. Time also allows us to gauge just how crucial the problem is. Is it a deal-breaker situation? A minor annoyance? In the moment, it could feel like a make-or-break fight, but maybe after some time and perspective, it’s no big deal. This is so important in terms of picking your battles. It serves a relationship very well to prioritize your problems.
5. Be open to God’s will. As we know, prayer always helps in every situation we find ourselves. We have our role models in God and His son as to unconditional, selfless, sacrificial love. We would do well to place all things in His hands. We might be led to a place far from where we started, and far from where we might have ended up had we not surrendered to His will through time and prayer.
6. Go to confession. A thorough examination of conscience might do wonders for the cooling-off process, and will clear the air before you meet up again to discuss the conflict. I cannot stress this enough as an important step in solving problems. As Catholics, it leads us to good places when we are faced with problems.
7. Be ready. As far as reconvening goes, double check with yourself as well as your partner. Make sure both of you are really ready. If you’re still clenching fists or tearing up, give it more time. Be patient—unless this conflict poses a threat to your relationship—allow as much time as needed to make sure the next step goes well.
We may have heard the advice: “don’t let the sun set on your anger.” Well, I say do let that sun set! Perhaps by the sunrise, you’ll see the whole thing differently. In the meantime, a whole lot of heartache could be avoided.
Here’s hoping the conflicts lead to better communication, increased intimacy and a more fruitful relationship!