First of all, let me start by saying “in every relationship there must be a misunderstanding or a kind of problem must ensue. The truth is having a misunderstanding is inevitable in every relationship.
Even when conflict is considered healthy, it can also mean that something is not right in your relationship. No relationship is perfect but the way you resolve issues in your relationship, without the relationship being distorted or at the breaking point; that’s what makes the relationship perfect.
Let’s use Hooke’s law of elasticity to analyze this point:
Hooke’s law is a principle of physics discovered by an English scientist Robert Hooke in 1660. It gives the relationship between the force applied to an unstretched spring and the amount the spring is stretched. In Hooke’s law of elasticity there’s the “Elastic limit”, “Yield point “, “Plastic point “ and the “Breaking point” consequently.
At the elastic limit, when the force that caused the springs extension reaches the elastic limit; when the applied force is removed, the spring will go back to normal.
At the yield point, the force applied to the unstretched spring has caused the spring to yield up itself elasticity. When the applied force that causes extension is removed, the spring won’t return to normal, the spring would become distorted.
At the plastic point, when more force is applied the spring would be totally stretched to the point that it might break.
At the breaking point, the spring breaks off completely.
Now, consider the “unstrectched spring” as your relationship and the “force applied” to the unstretched spring as the problem in your relationship. You shouldn’t let the force (problem in this case) take your relationship exceeding the elastic limit, to the yield point, to the point of distortion where the spark that used to be there is no longer how it used to be, everything is becoming ordinary and tiring. In as much as we can eventually work things back to the elastic limit (back to how it used to be because we are humans and not springs) we can hardly work our way back from the plastic point and the breaking point (the break up point in this case).
WHAT IS CONFLICT RESOLUTION?
Conflict resolution is the process of bringing into normalcy a relationship that has become estranged due to misunderstanding or disagreement over an issue or personal differences.
No one is an angel, no one is perfect. We are all striving towards perfection even though we can’t eventually be perfect the “striving” changes us, make us better people, better than how we used to be. Since perfection is not a thing to be attained overnight we are to learn from our errors and also learn to do things rightly so as to become ambassadors of peace, and for love, harmony and unity (which are some attributes of a healthy relationship) to continue.
So now, how do you resolve conflict?
- Communicate clearly: communication is the key in every relationship. One great step in resolving conflict is to talk it out with the person when both of you are in the right state.
The best way to communicate with your partner is physical (with them sitting next to you or opposite you) or over the phone for those in a long distance relationship as texting or chatting isn’t effective compare to “physically or over the phone” as it might escalate the issue as you didn’t get to know how they feel by seeing them or hearing their voice helping you to understand them better, not getting somethings misunderstood and/or mixed up.
To communicate clearly here are the things you should do
- Put your emotions aside.
- Open up your mind.
- Listen without interrupting.
- Say and/or explain your intentions and expectations.
- Avoid using attacking words e.g instead of saying “You are not serious, what’s your problem, what do you mean by that nonsense” rather you say “I’m sorry, please come again, I didn’t mean it that way”.
- Be sincere in your interactions.
- Avoid vague reasons.
- Avoid presumptions and/or assumptions (i.e talking for them or deriving your own meaning from their words)
2. Analyze the problem: you figure out what the problem is, and where it is coming from by communicating clearly. How often has it been occurring? Can it be considered as a minor (something you can move on from within 1-3hrs, something you can somehow manage to live with in terms of long term relationship) or major (something you have to invite a third party to help resolve, something that’s practically intolerable).
Saying “I’m sorry” is easy but when you don’t analyze the problem and sort things out with your partner, the problem will reoccur.
In analyzing the problem;
- Find the real problem and focus on it.
- Talk about the problem without creating another. For example, If not telling you their whereabouts is the problem you talk about it and not talking about the strange number you saw in their phone last time.
- Don’t visit the past problems
3. Find possible solution: listening to your partner while repeatedly explaining your actions and your opinions will probably end you up fighting and arguing again. The best way is to find possible solution that’s best for you both, either by compromise or by collaboration. In compromise, both of you or one of you give up something by consent reached by mutual concessions or agreement.
According to Donna Martini, “compromise is not about losing. It’s about deciding that the other person has just as much right to be happy with the end result as you do”. Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend little than to break.
In collaboration, both of you work jointly to create a win-win situation. For it is better to collaborate than to compete. Competition will only sore your relationship.
4. Apologize: apologies dissolves lumps of tensions and anxieties. It normalizes the distortions that might had happened in the course of arguments and brings serenity to your relationship.
Apologizing does not mean you are wrong or pathetic, it means you value your relationship more than what must have caused the misunderstanding and/or problem. It shows you are really sorry, and that you really care about the way they feel.
Remember, you don’t apologize for something you don’t understand or for just the issue to go away. Doing this will make the problem to reoccur. That’s why apologizing is the last on the list after you have communicated clearly, analyzed the problem, finding possible solutions and then apologizing.