Differences of opinion will always be part of relationships. While many people break up because of differences – many conflicts can be resolved. It boils down to both people honestly wanting to resolve the conflict and not just get their own way.
Here is a 10 Step process I use that has proven to work for many couples. It resolves conflicts by recognizing that successful relationships run through a series of compromises by both individuals.
1. Let go of the idea of “getting your way.” There is no such thing in a successful relationship.
2. All relationships have conflict. Relax and stop being embarrassed by the problem.
3. Acknowledge the conflict. Recognize that there is a conflict and that resolving it together will make your relationship better.
4. Listen carefully. Each of you has something to say and an opinion.
By Listening, You Acknowledge the Other’s Worth in Relationships
5. Set a time when you will get back together to try to resolve the problem. Prioritize the meeting as important and make sure you show up for it.
6. Examine your role in the problem. Define it so you understand what you think the problem is. Which of your behaviors adds to the problem? Accept responsibility for your role in producing or keeping the problem going.
7. Identify behaviors that each of you can change. Think of as many different solutions as you can. The more possible solutions and behavior changes you can think of, the greater the chance of finding those that will solve the problem.
8. Be ready to negotiate solutions in your relationships. Keep the discussion open and going until you both agree on which solution to try. This solution should include behavior changes that each of you should make and a potential timetable for making them.
In Your Relationships, Set a Date to Discuss How Well this Solution Is Working
9. Implement your new behaviors.
10. Meet again to discuss what has worked and what hasn’t. For those things that haven’t worked, go back to your list of possible solutions and pick a new one to try. Resolve to keep meeting and trying new behaviors until the problem is solved.
Use this technique for resolving any relationship problem you have. It will work as long as each party is willing to accept responsibility for their own part and are willing to try new behaviors until the successful changes are found.
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