How to resolve conflicts and problems as a couple? The key to a happy and healthy relationship is trust, open communication, sufficient freedom, mutual appreciation, and passion.
But that’s often easier said than done.
The Corona pandemic presented many couples with new and unseen challenges. While some couples enjoy being close to their partner due to the lockdown, others are urged to resolve various conflicts and problems. Many of them came up due to the changes in their daily life caused by the pandemic.
In a recent survey, 27% said that the current time is going to be a real stress test, 21% assume they will have more conflicts with their partner, 13% are even afraid of spending more time with their partner.
According to an Austrian study, more than a third of couples have financial troubles and around 20% wish they would have more time for themselves. One in ten have even thought of splitting up with their partner.
This article will show you some tips on how to resolve conflicts and problems in a relationship and how to deal with the lockdown situation.
The success recipe for every happy and healthy relationship:
An open and honest conversation helps to deal with any type of relationship problem. This not only includes telling the partner your own opinion, worries, wishes, and needs but also listening to them.
Active listening is key to good communication: Show your partner genuine interest in their concerns and take them seriously. Maintain eye contact and use your body language to show that you understand your beloved one. Try to avoid other activities such as playing with your smartphone while listening. Give full attention to your partner.
Communication is one of the most common relationship problems:
Here are more tips for an open conversation and a happier relationship:
1) Make sure you’re both in the right mood and have plenty of time instead of bringing up your concerns while one of you is busy, stressed, or distracted. Here are some questions to get a conversation started.
2) Articulate wishes instead of accusing your partner. Criticism usually brings people in a defensive mode because they feel attacked. This often creates a dispute rather than a productive solution. Instead, find out how you can work on a mutual solution.
3) Always let your partner finish their phrases and arguments and ask your partner to do the same. If you both have difficulties with that you can agree to a certain time to talk for each of you (e.g. 1 minute me and 1 minute you).
4) Be solution-focused: There is no point in getting lost in endless discussions about details. Instead, try to work productively on the change you both want. What can each partner contribute to make the solution work? How can we tackle the challenge together? What concrete changes should we make? (“Honey, let’s talk!” Is a perfect exercise to improve communication with your partner)
Relationship conflicts because you are too close – How to overcome this problem?
Before Corona and the lockdowns, most couples only spent a few hours in the evening and the weekends together. But the new situation forces many to have their partner 24/7 around them.
Many work remote, the children have to be looked after and it can become almost impossible to just spend time for yourself. This inevitably leads to friction points. So the question is how to adapt effectively to the new situation?
Many feel unable to concentrate on their work because they are constantly interrupted. The distribution of roles in the household is being put to the test and many feel limited in their freedom. Small or even huge conflicts can quickly evolve in these challenging times.
The following tips for a strong relationship will help you resolving conflicts or avoiding them entirely:
1) Create space for yourself: Find areas where each of you can either concentrate on their work, do their workout, or just spent for themselves without being bothered. Ideally, this space can be closed by a door. Not everyone has an unlimited amount of space. That’s where your creativity comes in place.
You could set up a small home office in the bedroom, which allows you to concentrate on your work without being interrupted. Let your partner know in advance if you don’t want to be disturbed. Once again, open and honest communication is the key here.
2) Share the household responsibilities equally: Who will wash the dishes? Who cleans the bathroom? Who will sweep the floor? Having a clear agreement prevents conflicts. No one will feel left alone dealing with these tasks.
3) Evaluate which new routines and tasks need to be integrated into your daily life. Things that used to work on autopilot may have to be reevaluated. (e.g. Organizing the home office and homeschooling)
4) Create a schedule: Who has to do which task and at what time? Perhaps one of you needs to be concentrated at a certain time of the day while the other has phone or conference calls. A schedule enables you to come up with solutions in advance. This will avoid confusion, conflicts, and stress.
5) Address problems immediately: Avoid remaining silent if something bothers you. Tell it to your partner right away calmly and peacefully. (You will find a blueprint for problem-solving in the Couples Therapy Tool-Kit)
Identify and meet each other’s desires and needs: The source of a happy and healthy relationship is knowing and communicating our needs and acknowledging those of our partner (and ideally fulfilling them if possible). Here’s an exercise that will help you.
Relationship conflicts and crisis because of the distance – How to be happier in a long-distance relationship?
The opposite of being too close is having a long-distance relationship. Due to the lockdowns and restrictions, many couples are unable to see each other for a long time. Many feel lonely, they miss personal contact and being close to their partner. These tips will help you coping better with this situation:
1) Talk openly about your feelings and try to let your partner participate in your everyday life as much as possible via text messages, phone, or video calls.
2) Schedule regular phone calls with your partner and make them part of your daily routine (eg after work).
3) Share photos and videos of things you have experienced or seen to participate in each others daily life.
4) Schedule a webcam date where everyone creates a comfortable atmosphere for themselves and spend time together in front of the camera.
How to resolve conflicts in relationships and be happier with your partner
If there was a blueprint to make any relationship work someone would file a patent and make millions with it.
Until we can find that magic formula we have to rely on proven exercises that are designed to bring out the best in both partners and strengthening the quality of their relationship.
That’s where these 14 powerful and ready-to-use worksheets and exercises come into play.
You can use them for couples therapy, counseling, relationship coaching or to improve your own relationship.