Normally, the first few weeks or months of meeting someone new is full of romance and excitement. You can see no wrong in your new-found lover. However, once that discovery period is over, you begin to notice the flaws.
You start arguing about anything and everything-
- Who left the toilet seat up/down?
- Why do you hold the car’s steering wheel that way?
- Why do you let the kids run all over the place?
These arguments may vary from the trivial to very serious issues. If there is no proper communication each time any differences arise, the end result will be resentment, a lack of respect towards each other, lack of faith in the relationship and its future, total communication breakdown, and the death of romance.
In order for your relationship to survive, the couple must set up mechanisms to resolve any upcoming issues.
My advice is to nip your relationship problems in the bud using positive communication techniques.
Here are my top five tips on how to foster good relationship communication and how to fix relationship problems early before they become a permanent feature in how you relate with the one you love.
1. Don’t Keep Scores
One very common feature among couples who find themselves constantly arguing is the keeping of running tallies by both parties or at least one of them.
Comments like, “you always get your way” or “it’s my turn now” only serve to shift focus from the particular issues of concern and make it a competition or some show of dominance. The total breakdown comes when each person tries to always be the one to win the argument or to get the last word in.
To solve such situations, both parties should realize that the ability and willingness to compromise is a sign of strength and unconditional love, not a sign of weakness.
It can be a hard thing to do since we all have our set ideas on what is right and what is wrong. We all agree that both parties are equal in a relationship and subconsciously try to “even out” the wins and compromises.
But being hardheaded won’t solve your issues. Identify the problem in each case and find a way to solve it without reflecting on who won the last argument.
2. Watch Your Language
When faced with attack, the normal human reaction is to engage our “fight or flight” mechanism. And that’s how most of us will react to an angry attack from a spouse, lover, ex boyfriend, or ex girlfriend if we don’t take steps to fix relationship problems.
By understanding that the best way to solve a relationship conflict is not to beat your significant other into submission using angry words, you will be able to take a more positive path towards reconciliation and understanding.
Always make sure that even in your anger, you use respectful words. Do not use absolutes because it suggests that you do not believe your partner can change. These absolutes usually involve the use of the words “always” and “never”.
Examples are, “you never listen to me”, “you never manage our finances well”, “you never show me respect in front of other people” etc. This only drives your partner into a defensive mode and will not result in any positive outcomes.
Also, avoid intimidation, insults, and name-calling. It may gain you some temporary compliance, but it will end up causing long term resentment. Lastly, do not give ultimatums.
3. One Issue at a Time
Solving relationship problems is usually made extra difficult by couples veering off into many issues at the same time. At times, they may seem to be arguing about doing dishes but you will find that the real issue at hand is far removed from kitchen chores.
The couple should make a conscious effort each time to resolve one conflict at a time and practice how to fix relationship problems. It is very tempting to bring up other issues, and this is especially true when you know you are not winning the current argument.
Agree with each other to always deal with one problem before moving on to the next one. If you catch your partner veering off on other tangents, politely point out that you still haven’t dealt with what brought about the conflict at hand.
If your spouse catches you changing topics, respectfully get back to the issue at hand and deal with it. Otherwise it will keep recurring without ever being resolved.
4. Time and Place
One major cause for resentment in a relationship is when couples bring up their differences at inappropriate venues or times. It is belittling and very inappropriate to engage in a shouting match in front of parents, kids, or other family and friends.
A more tactful, sober, and highly successful approach would be to find a quiet, comfortable, and private place to discuss whatever conflicts exists.
Remember to listen, watch your language, and compromise. The timing is just as important as the location. For couples living together, they may resolve to always retreat to a particular room to work things out.
Nothing melts the heart than saying “I’m sorry” and meaning it. When you realize you had taken a wrong path, or had been hurtful and disrespectful, it is only fair to admit it, apologize for it, promise never to repeat it, and work on avoiding such behavior in the future.
Most of us find it hard to swallow our pride and admit our wrong-doings. For the sake of your relationship and happiness and to learn how to fix relationship problems, be ready to make that compromise.
Remember not to keep a tally on who is always apologizing or who admits their wrongs more than the other. It should be enough if both of you make it a habit to apologize whenever there has been some wrongdoing.
Showing your partner that you respect, value, and cherish them may at times seem difficult. This is more so on those occasions when there is conflict. Emotions such as anger tend to cloud our judgment.
However, using the tips above on how to fix relationship problems, you can learn to handle your conflicts with maturity and understanding and avoid long term relationship problems.