Welcome to Day 13 in the series…
Yesterday we looked at strategies and plans to think about ahead of time, so you are more prepared to “turn up well” in the heat of the moment. As we’ve already discussed, every now and again the moment of “battle” is going to emerge, so today we’re going to be looking at how to “fight fair”, stay focused on the issue and work through conflict when it arises.
You see, when we’re upset it’s easy to let everything that has ever upset us about our partner come tumbling out in an unending stream of issues, problems, and “you always” accusations. This can be confusing and overwhelming for anyone, and it never lands well. We need to develop our conflict resolution skills so that basically we don’t become Shrikes. What’s a Shrike, you may well ask? Well, a Shrike is a carnivorous bird known for impaling its victim of prey against a thorn or barbed wire and then tearing them apart piece by piece. That though is essentially what we do when we throw issue after issue at our partner without focusing on the one point of conflict, or more importantly on what we are doing to them in the process.
The key skills you need to develop during battle include:
how to really listen well, rather than just wait for a pause to get your point in,
how to confine what you discuss to the issue at hand,
how to avoid using inflammatory words,
how to genuinely overcome challenges, and
how to discover “us centred” solutions where you win together.
For some strange reason, our natural inclinations are generally diametrically opposed to each of these skills, so we need to be deliberate about learning them and practicing them… and then keep practicing them until they become our automatic response. The time and effort you invest in learning to do conflict well will pay you dividends in your relationship with your partner and in all your relationships for life.
If you already have practical ways for managing each of the 5 skills, then great. If not though and you could use help, check out our Habit #2B course – Managing Conflict Effectively, where we go through them in detail. As ever, you can find out more on our website.