Have you ever noticed when conflict arises that you forget entirely what the initial argument was about because it has escalated into fighting about the way you are fighting?
Conflict is inevitable in relationships because we are two entirely different human beings bringing differing personalities, likes, dislikes, pet peeves, quirks, preferences and habits into the daily life of cultivating romantic love. Most of these qualities are developed from our upbringing and what we saw modeled to us therefore they are engrained deeply into our mindsets and subconscious patterns. This makes them a seemingly impossible thing to just change for another person. Change might occur and last for a little bit in the beginning, but typically when it’s motivated by the sake of winning and/or keeping another person, it doesn’t last.
So conflict is inevitable. The way conflict is handled determines the severity of distress caused on the couple and how long the icky turmoil lasts. My husband and I attended a 4 day relationship bootcamp where we learned that one person can change the course and happiness of a relationship. It sounds hard to believe especially if you are at wit’s end with your partner. In general, women operate from their heart which can lead to passionate responses to our men, whether it is fiery or cold. But, if we want to see a change in the way our guy handles conflict, we play a huge part in that.
I am previously guilty of expecting whoever I’m dating to handle something a certain way, but I have finally learned that the only person we can control is ourselves. And when we take responsibility for our actions, it is rather amazing to see how another’s reactions will adjust to ours. So if you want conflict to end more quickly, to be less frequent and to improve the quality of your relationship, here are 6 ways to work your magic as a woman.
1. Take your man off the pedestal:
I am extremely idealistic by nature and often idealize new relationships in hopes that they will meet my fairytale expectations. For those of you who share in that with me, you know that disappointment comes easily. Our men also feel an extreme amount of pressure because of it, leading them to feel like they are performing all the time. The first thing we must do is to strengthen our sensitivity so we are prepared for broken expectations. I learned that this idealistic and overly sensitive habit is partly rooted in selfishness. I have had to proactively pray to break this damaging quality so I can give grace more freely and naturally when my husband does not react or respond according to my hopes. Grace is liberating for you too and usually is more convicting than unforgiveness.
2. Don’t Avoid:
Depending on our upbringings or previous relationships, some of us learn to avoid conflict in order to protect ourselves. But, however much of a hiding place you think this may be for you, the trouble does not go away and always finds us again. Men can not read our minds, as obvious as a wrongdoing may seem. I know it’s mind boggling to us since we are intuitive by nature, but they literally need us to spell it out in clear black and white in order for them to correct what they’ve done. It is painful to communicate your feelings when your habit is to run away or to go silent, especially if you’ve been led to believe that your feelings aren’t important. But take baby steps into breaking that habit by going out of your comfort zone and talking to your man. He will be more receptive than you think.
3. Allow him to comfort you:
Some of us grew up in unpredictable environments which led us to to feel a strong need to control our environments. We become highly self-reliable and independent which is a good thing most of the time. But in relationships, a man needs to feel needed and given the ability to take care of his woman. It can be very hard to allow a man to comfort us or even to become vulnerable enough to let him see when we are hurt. But the fact is, he will feel helpless and unworthy of comforting, consoling and caring for you unless you safely shatter that outer shell. When you allow your soft, vulnerable side to show, this invites him in to do his job of covering you in love and assurance.
4. Keep yourself in check:
Be sure that you let down your pride and objectively see yourself in the mirror. One of the most disarming and attractive things about a woman is when she can sincerely admit when she is wrong and humbly apologize, seeking reconciliation. Most of the time, apologizing and taking ownership for your mistake will evoke the other person to a genuine reconciliation as well.
5. Don’t bring up the past:
The reason it is key to communicate about a particular situation rather than to avoid is so resentment and bitterness doesn’t pile up in our memories. When you keep your relationship “debt-free” like you would with a credit card, then you will only ever need to deal with isolated circumstances as they come, making them much easier to talk through and extinguish.
6. Have an accountability prayer partner:
Given the fact that I know my weaknesses and faults, I have a friend who knows and understands them about me as well. Every time I notice that I am trailing off into that overly-sensitive habit again, I text her and ask her to pray for me. I pray as well, but it is indescribably powerful having someone speak words of balance, truth and life into you while also taking your heart to the Throne. I have been able to tell a complete difference in my emotional state and clarity of mind on many occasions just because of prayer itself.
Overall, it is crucial that we begin to look at our own flaws in managing conflict and seek to become a healthy connector. I took a test a few months ago on www.howwelove.com, which reveals your strongest two out of five different conflict management styles. Learning more about myself and why I react the way I do helped me to recognize damaging patterns. I can only change and become better permanently with the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately when you surrender everything to prayer, I guarantee you will see a difference, a peace and a covering over your journey to walking in the power of being a woman.
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