One of the deciding factors of the health of a relationship is the way that couples communicate to solve their problems. A simple conversation over cleaning, driving, child discipline, and even preparing food can quickly escalate to verbal abuse and defensiveness. Visually speaking it is like two people verbally building defense walls and then attempt to throw hand grenades over the other persons wall.

More times than not when everything is sorted out and the clean up has begun that the heart of the issue was never discussed and only hurt, mistrust, and disappointment are left to be individually dealt with all the will emotionally separated from the other person.

Well, Dr. Jerry, who is a marriage counsoler had some very good ideas on how to have create conflict resolution that results in a stronger and a more cohesive family bond. Here they are.

Eliminate all external and internal distractions and filters.

Do not attempt to discuss a problem when you know that the other person is going to be too distracted to fully participate. It is better to wait for the right time than to rush a matter and further escalate the problem. People want to know that they are not only hear and understood but that you are not using the“environment” to force them to do something that they are not prepared to do. Examples of these distractions range from high stress levels, being tired, to someone already on the defensive.

Create a safe environment.

Nobody likes to reveal their feelings in an environment that they do not feel is safe or trust worthy. An important part of conflict resolution is to let the other person know that they can trust you with what they REALLY think and feel. If you feel that there is not trust then you will most likely cover your true feelings with defensive words, tones, and body language. Let the person know that you care for them, care for the relationship, and care for the future of the relationship.

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger

What gets most conversations heated is not what someone is saying but that one or both people do not think or feel that they are being heard or understood properly. You can solve most of the misunderstanding through structure and rules. Here are something to think about.

Only one person will talk at a time. Have one person hold something in their hands that will remind each person who is the speak and who is the listener. This could be keys, a book, or a cell phone.

Let the listener paraphrase after a few sentences to ensure their is proper understanding and comprehension. (This is a slow process but it ensures that everyone is on the same page. Misunderstandings will be easily discovered during this time.)

It is the job of the one who speaking to always clarify without judgement and it is the job of the listener to listen with the intent to understand and not to judge what was said.

The point of this conversation is to dissucss and define the problem and not attempt to find a solution to the problem. If the problem is not correctly defined then any solution that is reached can not fully solve the problem.

Problem Solving

Once both people fully understand what the problem is then you can begin looking for a solution to that problem.

Understand that problems within relationships are normal and that they will be worked out successfully.

Solve the problem as a team. Relationships can only be successful if both are attempting to successfully find the problems solution.

Don’t rush a solution just to get it out of the way. Both people must have patience in finding a solution. Take time to brainstorm any and every idea. Write down these solutions no matter how they might sound. Writing them out on paper will allow both people to look at all possible angles of the problem.

Agree when necessary and Compromise when necessary. Different people will have different expectations, wants and desires, and disinterested points of the problem. Ask questions to find out what is most important to each so that decisions on what must be included, not included and what can be compromised.

Take breaks when necessary.

Protect the Relationship no matter what.

There may be times when both people cannot agree on a solution. When this happens both people must agree to disagree for the sake of the unity and the preservation of the relationship.