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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!

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11 Comments

  1. Marge-938695 October 8, 2013

    Seems to me that mature and loving people do not “fight”.
    They may disagree and have to negotiate compromises. But I would posit that if you “fight” with the person you are dating…you are not a good match.

    • Patricia-688339 October 8, 2013

      Wow! What planet are you on right now? All people “fight”. I am sure that the author did not mean it to be physically. Grow up.

      • Marge-938695 October 9, 2013

        I was married for 18 years, after being engaged for two. My husband raised his voice to me only twice in all that time. (I wasn’t so patient!)
        I do not believe that all people “fight”.

  2. Lynea-297530 October 9, 2013

    Marge, I agree. Sometimes, however, people are both not on their best, but even then, it ought to be brief and people ought to have the type of heart to see the bigger picture and want the same thing to never let stuff get in the way of that.

  3. Erin-997783 October 9, 2013

    I completely disagree with the last point about “letting the sun set” on anger. In my personal experience it has done nothing but cause more inflammation and prolong the problem. I believe that there is practically 100% truth behind what is typically known as “age old advice” like not going to sleep angry at each other and I am a firm believer in that. I have plenty of reasons to back up what I’m saying too.

  4. Lucy-41785 October 10, 2013

    All people don’t “fight”. While dating, my parents visited relatives who “fought” constantly. My parents vowed not to do that in their marriage, and they didn’t. Disagreed, yes, but they worked through it. At 54 years together until death did them part, I think they would agree with you, Marge.

  5. Joseph-1015611 October 10, 2013

    Effective communication comes first through being a good listener. Accept the persons point of view then try not to be so assertive and use words of kindness and maybe a compromise can be reached.

  6. Elise-1018433 October 10, 2013

    I can definitely agree to letting the sun set on your anger. Many times I find if I go to sleep angry, when I wake up my entire outlook on the argument has changed! I”m no longer angry and can think rationally about the situation. Definitely sleep on it! (And I would say don’t let anyone get banished to the couch!)

    • Marge-938695 October 11, 2013

      I agree with you. Going to sleep angry made me forget what I was annoyed about…or at least took away the emotional part.
      And something goes out of a marriage when you don’t share the same room.

  7. Therese-668052 October 15, 2013

    Dear Author Cate Perry and Readers,

    As Catholics, we are all invited to strive for perfection. A big step in accomplishing this is to channel our anger in positive ways.
    “Don’t let the sun set on your anger” is not merely an idea or a suggestion, this advice is coming from the Bible. In Eph 4:26 we read, “Be angry but do not sin, do not let the sun set on your anger.”
    Once again dear friends, God also tells us in Eph 6:11 “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.”

    While the above article is very helpful and contains a lot of insight based on spiritual study, God also reminds us in Deut 4:2 that it is also very important for all of us to not make any changes to the inerrant Word of God to accommodate ourselves concerning any situation in our lives.

    As we continue together on our journey, with perfection as our goal!
    Sincerely with appreciation,

    Therese

  8. Ana-956081 December 23, 2013

    the goal of perfection is not about being perfect in our actions/results. it is about being perfect in compassion and love, above our mistakes.

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