Resolve Partnership Conflicts © Martyn Carruthers 1998

 

Healthy and happy partnerships are not about finding a “perfect partner”. 
They are about sharing values and resolving conflicts.

Many children’s stories end with, “they lived happily ever after”. 
If you want a “happy ever after“, resolve your relationship conflicts.

Show your Love by Resolving Conflicts

What is love for you? Sexual chemistry? Feelings? Behaviors? Decisions? Whatever it is, most people want this magical adhesive. Yet good intentions are not enough. We need mature role models and experienced mentors for our love relationships

Can you and your partner discuss emotions without blaming, complaining, justifying or withdrawing? If you and your partner have enjoyed happy, mature parents, then resolving conflicts will feel natural and easy. And if you didn’t, it’s not too late.

Since our sessions with you we both talk about our feelings, we are both kinder, 
and we show each other gratitude for little things. We never knew how important these are.

Were you trained in partnership skills? Good intentions do not magically resolve conflicts. Western adults often know a lot about sex, and little about kindness. Arabic and Oriental couples often know more about kindness, and less about sexuality.

Do unto others as they want you to do unto them!

We help couples solve a huge variety of partnership conflicts – about family members, money, sex, children, abuse, boundaries, health, stress, infidelity and much more. What part of partnership is without conflict?

Yet few of your fights or arguments may truly be with each other! Many fights and arguments are varieties of, “My mother’s opinion versus your mother’s opinion” or “I worry that you will act like my ex-partner” or “You remind me of …“, etc.

We help partners explore their needs, values and complaints – together. Conflicts will happen, so we teach people how to manage and use their conflicts to increase trust and improve cooperation. Here are some good Couple Communication Exercises.

We usually coach partners separately at first, to resolve individual issues, and then together, to solve couple problems. We help couples understand each other, define their partnership goals and develop plans to reach their goals together.

Practical love is resolving conflicts

After an infatuation or honeymoon phase of a partnership, conflicts become more obvious. Let’s take household chores. If you want your partner to do things differently, what do you do? Attack? Whine? Nag? Stop listening? Withdraw?

The real reason for my divorce was my desperate desire to be right; 
which reflected my father’s desperate need to be right. 
My parents divorced when I was nine.

What are the consequences of avoiding conflicts? Probably you and your partner will feel more distant. You may both feel less understood and less intimate. Avoiding genuine resolution will likely increase the number and severity of future conflicts.

We focus on the feelings that motivate unwanted behaviors. We listen carefully and explore which emotions have what triggers. Often the real issues are conflicts from childhood or from past partnerships.

The benefits of resolving relationship conflicts include increased intimacy, satisfaction and understanding. Then we can coach couples to coach each other through conflicts until they are confident that they can deal with whatever comes up.

Will you stay together or split?

Can you attract – 
and be attracted to – a healthy partner?

Some women say, “Men should be more sensitive!” To men, that sounds like, “Men should be more like women“. Men may say, “Women should be more realistic!” Guess what that means to women. Generally, the more shoulds – the less happiness.

We promised God that we would stay together … but our love slowly degenerated into 
a respect for each other that would be more appropriate for two old enemies. 
Surrey

Real partners have real conflicts. If you are in a relationship without arguments or conflicts – perhaps you are still on a honeymoon … or maybe you are only having an affair … or perhaps you are both hiding emotions and staying together for some other reason than sharing intimacy.

Avoiding truths and telling lies is not likely to help. You may gain a few days peace – at the high price of losing trust. (Telling the truth often requires massive trust).

It’s unlikely that you and your partner will agree on every detail. Do you resolve conflicts, or do you just hide them? If you appear to have no conflicts, it is likely that one or both are hiding unpleasant emotions and avoiding important issues.

Common Relationship Conflicts
Raising children
Differing maturity
Money and budgets
Different expectations
Interfering parents
Suspected infidelity
Sexual compatibility
(S)he won’t listen to me
Driving habits
Different values
Household chores
(S)he avoids conflicts

Many people delay resolving conflicts until their pent-up emotions seem to explode over apparently trivial details. If you continually use distractions to avoid solving conflicts, you may be setting yourselves up for alienation and separation.

Check your partnership skills, see Patterns of Partnership

Healthy Partnership Partnership in Crisis
Partners often show appreciation and 
gratitude to each other
One or both are often dissociated, irritated, depressed, critical or show contempt
Partners respond to most verbal and 
nonverbal communications
One or both ignore, avoid or shorten 
most communications
Partners review events in their history They rarely review their relationship history
Partners greet after time apart and ask about each other’s activities and other news They rarely interact when together, 
without even silent intimacy
Partners enjoy meeting each other’s needs for passion, intimacy and commitment One or both often ignore or criticize 
the other’s goals and needs
Partners discuss goals and dreams, finding shared values and creating shared meanings. They rarely discuss goals, dreams, 
values or meaning.
Partners often go out together One or both generally prefer to go out alone
Partners create projects which 
require committed cooperation
One or both often avoid, ignore or give 
small attention to shared projects
They wish to stay together to enjoy sharing partnership and parenthood happiness One or both want to separate but do not because of guilt, fear or other constraints
They respect most of each other’s choices and decisions, and discuss differences One or both show contempt for the other’s decisions and angrily demand changes
Partners both want happiness together One or both prefer to be apart

Happy partnership is not about finding a perfect partner. 
Happy partnership is about resolving conflicts together.

Continued from Solutions for Couple Conflict

Real partners have real conflicts, discussions and arguments

Do you want a “happy ever after“? If you and your partner have no arguments or conflicts – maybe you are still on honeymoon … or perhaps you are having 
an affair … or do you stay together for other reasons than intimacy?

I wanted to talk to my husband about how we can improve our marriage. 
He said that if we had to talk about it, that meant it wasn’t working.

If you appear to have no conflicts – are you in a partnership or a dictatorship? Or is someone hiding unpleasant emotions or avoiding important issues? Do you 
resolve conflicts or do you ignore them and hope that they will go away?

Common Relationship Conflicts
Raising children
Differing maturity
Money and budgets
Different expectations
Interfering parents
Suspected infidelity
Sexual compatibility
(S)he won’t listen to me
Driving habits
Different values
Household chores
(S)he avoids conflicts

If you want to check your partnership skills, see Patterns of Partnership

We often help couples dream together – to create shared dreams of happiness and then explore how they can make their dreams come true. Dreaming together is sowing seeds … working together provides the sunshine and rain … lasting happiness is the harvest. While it’s easier to talk about dreams during a honeymoon; it’s important to remember your dreams during a conflict.

My husband and I understand each other now. Things that got on my nerves no longer 
bother me. We can talk at length on just about any topic. We have not had a 
screaming match or resentment since your couple counseling.
 Philadelphia

Have you told your partner how you want to be loved? Have you explored how your partner wants to be loved? We help people discuss feelings as well as behaviors – both as relationship first aid and as a way to make better decisions.

You probably know very well what each other likes and dislikes.
Do you use this knowledge to irritate each other? 
London

We help partners understand, appreciate and validate each other’s perspectives, history, beliefs and values, as a basis for mutual support and cooperation. Enjoying partnership is usually much more fulfilling thanpartnership breakdown.

Online Couple Coaching & Soulwork Therapy

Put ELATION in RelationSHIP

Do you wait until your conflicts reach CRISIS before you seek help? The earlier you improve your relationship – the more likely that you can solve your issues easily.

When I asked my husband to help with the housework, he would stall and forget it. 
If I was angry, he accused me of over-reacting. If I reminded him of his promises, 
he complained I was nagging. After our couple counseling with you, we ENJOY 
doing most housework together! Other parts of our life are better too! 
Hawaii

We help partners change old habits that lead to boredom and frustration. If both of you commit to evaluating your partnership, and if both of you choose to be mature – budgets can be made, frustration and boredom can be reversed, and arguments can become stimulating conversations.

We are gay and we have been together for five years. You helped us remodel our 
relationship and plan what we can do if my HIV positive partner develops AIDS. 
Boston

If a partner rejects possibilities for reconciliation, then indifference, affairs or separation may seem inevitable. Although we provide separation coaching – we prefer to help partners find better ways to express and receive love. Do you want your partnership to get lost in boredom or affairs? Do you have space for love?

Finding happiness together usually requires both partners sort out a lot of old habits, not only the “right” way to make coffee or clean the bathroom but any “I know I’m right ” thinking habits. Much better to approach each other with a “let’s find out together what works best for us” attitude. What old habits might block your progress?

Your Partner is not Perfect

And neither are you. Many people who separate are motivated by fantasies … perhaps a more perfect person may be out there looking for you … or maybe your partner had an affair. Most relationship conflicts are predictable partnership problems – and you can resolve most of them – or prevent them.

I married a perfect woman. She was gorgeous, sexy and rich … we had a wonderful time at her 
father’s expense. But when her dad had money problems, we both had to work and we 
argued every day. Your couple coaching helped us … we may not have fancy cars and 
expensive holidays now, now we are adult partners … not adult children!
 London

We help couples evaluate and improve their partnership – and improve their relationships with their families, ex-partners, friends and colleagues. We help people change old habits and make healthy decisions about their lives together.

When we ignored our problems, we damaged our relationship!
Our love got bogged down in passive-aggression and codependence. 
Why did we wait? We didn’t know that change was possible! 
Birmingham

Check your partnership skills, see Patterns of Partnership

Healthy Partnership Partnership in Crisis
Partners often show appreciation and gratitude to each other One or both are often dissociated, irritated, depressed, bored, critical or show contempt
Partners respond to most verbal and nonverbal communications One or both ignore, avoid or shorten most communications
Partners review events in their history They rarely review their relationship history
Partners greet after time apart and ask about each other’s activities and other news They rarely interact when together, without even silent intimacy
Partners enjoy meeting each other’s needs for passion, intimacy and commitment One or both often ignore or criticize the other’s goals and needs
Partners discuss goals and dreams, finding shared values and creating shared meanings. They rarely discuss goals, values or dreams
Partners often go out together They generally prefer to go out alone
Partners create projects which require committed cooperation One or both often avoid, ignore or give small attention to shared projects
They wish to stay together to enjoy sharing partnership and parenthood happiness One or both want to separate but cannot because of guilt, fear or constraints
They respect most of each other’s choices and decisions, and politely discuss differences One or both show contempt for the other’s decisions and angrily demand changes
Partners want to walk through life together One or both partners want to leave

Double Vision and Mature Love

Are you enmeshed in previous relationships? We help you untangle from parents, ex-lovers, etc. While we prefer to help partners enjoy happy and fulfilling lives together, we help some couples separate and disconnect as peacefully as possible.

Your couple counseling transcended sexual attraction and personal gain … you helped us 
explore our needs and define our desires … we have so many thanks … 
Essex

Do you want to manage your emotions and enjoy happier relationships?

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