It is my hope that we don’t have to get there in our relationships. I hope we can all employ a conflict resolution style that allows us to negotiate with peace and compassion. However, that may not be realistic for everyone. After all we come to our relationships with emotional wounds and usually choose partners who offer a great opportunity to heal, mostly because they are mirroring our stuff back to us and us to them. Here are some tips that I shared at our recent Create Love conference to help avoid arguing, or have a productive one--in case it is unavoidable. It is possible to fight fair and, as my lovely business partner-Minister SharRon-would say…Win at love!
TIPS FOR AVOIDING AN ARGUMENT
1. Do your personal work
- Be willing to take your personal inventory. Explore and keep exploring. You can’t share who you are if you don’t know yourself. And if you've done it before—do it again, again. We should be a student of our own life.
- Get out of your own way of a successful partnership.
- What patterns are you repeating?
2. Make communication days as important as date night
- Tend to authentic communication like it is sex…after all it is a great gateway to intimacy and, thus, making love.
- Authentic communication isn’t just about being honest. It is a culmination of timing, honesty, compassion, self-awareness and accountability.
- Share your feelings, but remember to invite your partner into your dreams, goals and passion. There is nothing sexier for many woman than being supported and affirmed in her dreams.
3. Don’t let things fester more than 24 hours.
- Practice expressing feelings as opposed to just your thoughts
- Stuffing your feelings is not the same as peace.
TIPS FOR PREPARING FOR A PRODUCTIVE ARGUMENT
Be sure the time is right
o It is not a good time if one person is driving
o If you’ve been drinking
o If you’re at work
o If you have children who can overhear
o If you are overcome by your emotions
Set an intention for the discussion
o What do you really want from this conversation?
o What are you willing to do to contribute to it?
o Role-play with a friend or use your imagination.
o Role-play the way you might express yourself
o Talk out your intentions so that your emotions don’t take over
o No cell phones or TV
Make sure the battle is not bigger than the war
o Some arguments are simply not worth the time and energy
o Pick your battles
o Power struggles are not productive
Know when to say “time out”
o Ask for a moment to get yourself together
o Respect when enough is enough
Stay focused on the issue and the behavior, not the person’s character
o Use "I" language. Be accountable for your own feelings. Make room to be wrong about your assumptions.
o Focus on your feelings
o Listen for the language under the language. What is she really saying? Remove your ego and listen for her trying to tell you that she is hurt, vulnerable, embarrassed, etc.
o Use empathy not sympathy. Put yourself in her shoes.
Consider your possible negotiations ahead of time
o Agreeing to disagree is not a failure
o Ask for what you need, but be prepared to COMPROMISE
Remember that the power is in the partnership…not in individuation
o Be willing to be the hero of your relationship, if needed. Sometimes it is just more important to let it go and return to love. While it may be sort of morbid...Ask yourself "If I knew I was going to die tomorrow would this be relevant?" If the answer is NO--Then let it go!
I wish you great success on your journey to love.
HERE'S A GREAT VIDEO ON A COMMON RELATIONSHIP PATTERN:
Imani at the Create Love Conference talking about arguing: