I once worked with a couple who struggled to allow each other to be “irritable and/or annoyed” with the other person. Each would try to push the other to talk about what caused the irritation or annoyance.
As a relationship counselor, I find that each person has their unique manner of working through issues. Take for instance, my partner. She requires more time than I do to work through an issue. I on the other hand desire to want to work through it right away. Because I understand my wife, or at least I am learning to more and more each day. I find it vital to provide her with time to work through the issue at hand. I also trust that when she has completed her time of process she will be able to return to the conversation and the address the issue that escalated the situation.
In my counseling practice, I encourage partners to help each other work through conflict by focusing on three core areas:
- Understanding your partners profile. This means that you must take time to converse with your partner and learn how he/she works through conflict. As mentioned earlier, my wife needs just a little bit more time then I do. For this reason, I must be aware that during situations of conflict, I cannot push myself unto her. I instead, must acknowledge her profile and be patient. Lastly, respecting your partners manner of working through conflict shows kindness, compassion, and understanding.
- Understanding your profile. Moments of conflict are bound to provoke feelings of worry and insecurity. You may be the type that wants to work through the issue right away. Potentially due to fearing that if you do not talk about it soon it’ll “get worse” or “create more problems”. When it comes down to understanding your profile, you must be aware of how it differs from that of your partner. I am one who wants to address issues as soon as possible. My partner is not. I must be aware to not push myself onto my partner until she is ready. As this may create more conflict steer us away from problem solving.
- Returning to the core issue for problem solving. Once you and your partner have had time to work independently through the issue come together. Find time to engage in conversation regarding the core of the issue at hand. The focus should be on problem solving.