If you haven’t had a chance to read our blog post from last month on conflict, we suggest you and your spouse take a quick gander. After all, conflict exists anytime two people interact. Even between the best of couples — it’s inevitable. The trick is how we handle it, which brings us to today’s topic on destructive vs. constructive conflict styles.
Simply put, how we process or deal with conflict can make or break positive communication in a marriage.
Do you want to minimize issues or work through them?
Conflict generally arises when our desires are blocked or hindered by someone or something. Maybe it has to do with our individual goals and things we want to achieve, differences we have with our spouse, an important issue, the need to be in control, or even finances. Naturally, going in with a destructive conflict style hinders our ability to resolve anything. And it typically leads to far worse arguments and negative attitudes that can really destroy a marriage.
Common Attitudes/Actions within Destructive Conflict Styles:
- Playing the blame game
- Creating a win or lose dynamic
- Withdrawing from your spouse or the situation
- Being too passive (giving in when you know you shouldn’t)
- Shaming yourself or your spouse (you’re a “bad person” for what happened)
Having a constructive conflict style means that you and your spouse are always looking for ways to identify the reasons for the conflict and then work through them together, however bad the issues may seem at first. There is a focus on coming together, being flexible, and making concessions to make each other happy.
Common Attitudes/Actions within Constructive Conflict Styles:
- A willingness by one or both parties to find a compromise
- Having open, constructive discussions
- Being solutions-minded
- Seeking and asking for forgiveness
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How self-aware are you during a conflict?
When conflict does arise, the people who have more self-awareness are the ones who will find a way to deal with everything constructively rather than being destructive toward the relationship. They are aware of the real issue, and the feelings and behaviors involved in the entire process is a pivotal first step.
Questions for you to review when there’s Conflict
What is the real issue here?
Now that I know the issue, what needs to happen for me to feel better? What do I really want?
Is achieving this goal THAT important? Why?
Have I tried to problem-solve to get what I want rather than make the situation worse?
How far am I willing to push to get what I want?
What were my thoughts before, during, and after the conflict?
Can I identify feelings was I having?
Are there inappropriate behaviors that I exhibited?
All we are saying here is that while conflict is inevitable, how we react (or our approach to the situation) determines whether or not we minimize the situation and grow together or make it worse and drift further apart. Constructive conflict styles will almost always help us find a resolution or compromise that works for everyone.
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Our heart is devoted to caring about people and marriages!
Our heart is devoted to caring about people. We want to ensure you have the tools to communicate better in your marriage. The best way we know how to do that is by spreading the word to more people and let them know that we are here.
Did we leave anything out? How do you react to conflict? What are some changes you and your spouse hope to make after reading this blog post? Please send us a quick email and help us keep this conversation going. mike@MikeandSusanDawson.com.