Connecting through Conflict

It isn't uncommon for me to hear "I don't like conflict", and for that matter, I am glad. I may have concerns for someone who loves and adores creating conflict in relationships or events. 

What do we do in relationships when we feel driven to either avoid conflict or feel that our relationship is falling to pieces when we experience conflict? 

Conflict in and of itself is not good or bad. Conflict can create emotional experiences (anger, fear, resentment, sadness), but it is the response to those emotions that can get us into trouble. 

These responses can include verbal insults, criticism, avoidance, running away, catastrophizing, defensiveness, or contempt, to name a few.

However, the potential for conflict to enhance a relationship can be as simple as asking "why is this important to you?" We often fight for a right to be heard. We want to feel understood. Offering that opportunity and space for your partner to give voice to importance and value of the WHY behind the conflict can also help determine a shared meaning. You may find that you too feel the same level of importance. 

Compromises are rooted in shared value: be it the relationship as a whole, the difficulty of the experience, a desire for relief, or even the idea that "misery loves company"; we can find camaraderie in conflict. 

Change each conflict into an opportunity to connect with one simple question:

                                Why is this important to you?