Tips to effectively navigate Blueprint 2:
1. Offer a genuine apology to your partner regardless of your agreement or disagreement with their perspective. Focus only on the fact that you hurt your partner and that you need to take responsibility.
2. Verbalize what you can take responsibility for, as well as any other factors that played into you getting caught up in the fight. For example, “I was too harsh when I spoke to you” or “I was stressed all day and took it out on you.”
3. Ask your partner what he or she needs from you to heal and move forward. Be sure to follow through on the request.
Conflict Blueprint 3: Gridlock And Dialogue
Couples are often either “gridlocked” or “in dialogue” on their perpetual problems, and research suggests that these problems concern personality differences or core fundamental needs. Being in dialogue, the preferred status, is when the couple has learned to accept their differences on that topic even though minor arguments arise occasionally. Overall, the couple has made peace on the issue and they agree to disagree.
Moving from gridlock to dialogue involves examining the meaning and dreams that form the basis for each partner’s steadfast perspective. Each partner may be able to find a way to honor their partner’s dreams, which often amounts to fulfilling a core need regarding the issue at stake.
Those couples who successfully navigate a recurring problem in their relationship have learned to express acceptance of their partner’s personality, and they can talk about and appreciate the underlying meaning of each other’s position on the issue.
Tips to effectively navigate Blueprint 3:
1. Take turns speaking and listening. As the speaker, you should communicate clearly and honestly. Where does your perspective or position on the issue come from, and what does it symbolize for you? What kinds of lifelong dreams or core issues are at stake for you?
2. As the listener, you must create a safe space for the speaker. No judging or arguing, and don’t give advice or try to solve the problem. Show genuine interest in what your partner is telling you, and allow them enough time and space to fully communicate their concerns. Ask questions so that you can both fully explore the issue and its related meaning.
3. Find ways to create small compromises that can pave the way to larger plans. If your dreams differ, try to find areas where they overlap or try to make plans to give each partner’s dreams a chance to grow and become reality.
All relationships have perpetual problems that crop up throughout your lives as a couple. Psychologist Dan Wile once said that “when choosing a long-term partner, you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unresolvable problems.” No one escapes this fact. Fortunately, we have real science that helps couples learn how to manage such conflicts and keep their love alive and well.
Written by Dr. Marni Feuerman, LCSW, LMFT
Originally appeared in The Gottman Institute
Every relationship has fights and conflicts, but if that should not be the defining factor in any way. Never let your ego control your behavior, and always choose to focus on love. As long as you are transparent towards your partner, and show them a lot of love, you will be able to manage and resolve every conflict there is.
“When you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict. And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue.” – Dolores Huerta
If you want to know more about the blueprints for managing and resolving conflicts in your relationships, then check out this video below: