There are only two kinds of problems in a relationship: those you can solve, and those you can’t.
Easy enough, right? Problem is, according to John Gottman (The Seven Principles for Making Marriages Work
) 69% of relationship issues are not solveable. Uh-oh. Now what?
You know the drill…
He wants children, his partner doesn’t. She wants to take one big vacation every year, her partner wants to use their time and money taking several short trips. She wants to clean on the weekends, her partner wants to clean never. He likes talking on the phone, his partner wishes he wouldn’t. She wants three dogs, her partner wants none. The list goes on and on. These are examples of unsolveable conflicts.
We all have conflicts with the one we love. It’s unavoidable. Though we may not be able to hand pick issue-free partners, we can do two important things. One, make sure the issues that our partner has are ones that we can live with. Two, address conflicts directly and with curiosity and respect for one another. That’s where I come in.
My hope is to help you identify your relationship conflicts and to assist you in dealing directly with them, I have created a free relationship worksheet
called, My Request Dialogue
. I encourage you to print this out, complete it once for each issue you have identified, and set aside time with your partner to discuss.
The actual conflicts you have in your relationship are not usually what causes harm – it’s what you do (or don’t do) with them that poses the danger. Be sure you are paying attention to HOW you are addressing your conflicts.