The idea for this article came to me when a client reached out to me asking about conflict resolution when both partners are super stubborn. This is not an uncommon question, but I realized that I haven’t written too much content for stubborn couples! Time to change that 🙂
In today’s article, I want to go over some helpful tips for conflict resolution when you or your partner, or both of you, tend to be very set in your ways and opinions. As you know, a relationship is a two-way road and you will have to meet in the middle if you want to operate as a team.
Truth be told, the majority of my clients are struggling with a stubborn partner who is very set in their ways, and when there is no give, it can give rise to serious problems in the relationship.
If you’ve been with your husband or wife for a very long time, then chances are that you think that they’re stubborn too! And he or she probably feels the same way about you. That said, there are certain tools that you can use that will help the two of you to find common ground. It’s going to take a bit of practice, but practice makes perfect! The most important things in life take a bit of time, and this shift is no exception.
So, first things first, I want you to know that we can make some changes to the situation that will improve the dynamic between you, and I want to show you how. Let’s get started!
Conflict resolution between stubborn spouses
Let me start off by saying that it’s perfectly normal for you to feel that your partner is stubborn and for him or her to feel the same way about you. After a while, it’s normal for people to get caught up in their own habits, their own frame of mind, and it can become harder and harder to practice empathy towards our spouse. It’s hard to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, and this is just a very normal part of being a human being.
As I always say, there are so many things about human nature that we just aren’t taught in school. We’re taught that everything just comes naturally and that love should be easy breezy. But the reality is that every single person is incredibly complex, and every single person will have their own little details. When you bring two people together, they will need to learn how to make sure they’re on common ground.
They have to learn how the other person operates, they have to learn how to relate and sympathize. It’s all too easy to remain stuck in our own frame of reference and remind blind to how the other person feels and what the other person needs. But… this is such a crucial element of conflict resolution in marriage.
How to resolve conflict in marriage and get on the same page
So now it’s time to have a moment of breakthrough so that the two of you can start pulling in the same direction. As I’m sure you’ve come to understand, if the two of you are just going to keep on butting heads forever, this isn’t going to work!
As we begin to dive into marriage conflict resolution skills, the first question I have for you is the following. For you, is it more important to be loved, or more important to be right? This is serious question that you need to ask yourself, and your partner needs to ask themselves the same thing. One of the most common phenomenons I have witnessed throughout all of these years of one on one coaching is that people who are hell-bent on being right all the time tend to push their significant others away, and they tend to wind up with terrible regrets. It is only after the relationship has ended that they begin to realize that they valued their own ego and pride over the wellbeing of their partner, and they were not open to hearing their partner’s side. And I can tell you right now that if your partner does not feel heard, a disconnect will begin to form in the relationship.
Unity within the relationship is more important than being right all the time. The important thing here is to create an environment in which both people feel safe to express themselves because they know that they will be heard, and both people need to be receptive to what the other is saying. Without this, you will not be able to connect and work as a team, and the marriage will suffer. I cannot stress the importance of a nurturing environment enough when you are trying to avoid conflict in marriage. When you’re stubborn, this is a bit harder, but if you can bring your awareness to it, you’ll be able to notice when it’s happening. When you notice it’s happening, you can consciously decide to be open to what your partner is saying to you and in turn, you will be leading by example. This way, your partner will see how you’re operating and will be more inclined to do the same. Of course, this isn’t something that will be fixed overnight, but again, just make sure that you repeat this type of behavior. This is how it will turn into a natural habit.
This all boils down to communication techniques. I see so many clients focusing on winning an argument instead of actually trying to communicate. These are two vastly different things! Instead of trying to listen to their partner to understand where he or she is coming from, they’re just waiting for the opportunity to interject their own point of view. As you can imagine, this can turn into a very destructive pattern. It’s all about building happiness together, and that should be the goal – regardless of who is more stubborn!
Conflict resolution for couples through reestablishing connection
The second tip I want to share is all about focusing on building connection in order to make sure that the tension doesn’t damage the relationship. Tension and conflict are very normal parts of relationships, but the foundation that has been built in the relationship will directly affect how much of an impact conflict will have. If you two are able to nurture a very loving and safe environment, then conflict will carry less of a weight. If, on the other hand, you have neglected your connection and conflict keeps arising, it will only push you further and further apart.
Conflict is actually a very healthy part of a relationship! It allows two people two express themselves and understand one another, it enables you to work as a team to tackle a problem, and it teaches you to express your wants and needs. But, if there isn’t a loving foundation beneath all of it, conflict can be incredibly stressful. For this reason, I encourage you really focus on what brings the two of you together. It’s far too easy to fixate on your partner’s shortcomings and the things about them that frustrate you, and the more you do this, the more it will breed conflict. But at the end of the day, no one is perfect. If you can train your mind to be aware of the issues the relationship faces, but to focus on what you love about this person, you will sense some very positive changes. This will affect your state of mind, which will affect your behavior, and this, in turn, will have a direct effect on the dynamic within the relationship. Try to focus on rebuilding moments, reconnecting, and moving past the tensions that your relationship has experienced.
A good way to do this is to go try new things together. Go try new activities, visit new places, try new things! The more you can experience, the more you will share, and the easier it will be to reconnect.
How to avoid problems between husband and wife: Seek to understand each other
Understanding your partner’s unspoken and spoken needs is truly the foundation of a long-lasting, happy and healthy relationship. This is something we talk about all the time in our videos and in our articles, but we have also created a product designed to teach you the ins and outs of healthy communication. In it, we go over the ins and outs of communication so that you two can truly understand one another, empathize, work as a team, anticipate one another’s needs, and strengthen your bond. It is an incredibly in-depth program and I highly recommend harnessing its power! To access it, all you have to do is click here.
Empathy and being able to relate to one another is a key player in a healthy relationship – whether you’re the stubborn person or it’s your partner! If you can’t see things from the other person’s point of view, it’s going to be very hard for you to rebuild a bridge.
It is also important to distinguish between core values and non-negotiables, and the small stuff. There are most certainly things that you’re going to have to let go of, and there are most certainly things that you’re going to have to stand your ground on. One of the most important things you can do when you want to repair a marriage is to pay very close attention to what your core values and your non-negotiables are, and be so aware of what they are, that it becomes easy to distinguish between those and the little annoying things that aren’t that big of a deal. If you can perfect this art, you will see an incredibly positive impact on your relationship. For example, there is a big difference between a person not doing their dishes and talking to you disrespectfully.
It’s very common for people to start to fixate on the small stuff once they’ve been together for a long time, and they tend to forget about the important stuff. This is a big thing to keep in mind if you are looking for conflict resolution strategies for couples. Then, when you are going to discuss the issues at hand with your partner, make sure you avoid talking to them in a way that makes them feel attacked or belittled. This is a core element of healthy communication and conflict resolution in marriage, so keep a close eye on it.
That is the key. You can break through stubborn behavior by working on building joint solutions to common problems.
Couple conflict will be a thing of the past
I know that it can feel like you’re facing so many roadblocks when you are experiencing marriage conflict with a stubborn partner, but I work with people in these types of situations every single day. It’s my specialty. You are two individuals, with your own personalities, your own wants and needs, and your own ways of expressing yourself. The best thing you can do for yourselves is to practice empathy right now and make it a core element of your relationship.
The more that you can empathize, the more you will be able to anticipate and avoid conflict, the easier it will be communicate, and the better your connection will be. Everyone wants to feel heard and understood, and if you can do this for your partner, he or she will do it for you. Yes, even if they are stubborn! You just need to lead by example and you will see that things will begin to change.
Now, I know that every single relationship is unique and each one has its own set of specific issues, but if you’d like to go deeper, you can always reach out to me or a member of my team for one on one guidance. We can analyze the details of your relationship and provide you with a tailor-made action plan that will give you the results you want. To work with us, all you have to do is click here. I know that things may feel extremely challenging right now, but I can honestly tell you that if handled properly, these periods can be blessings in disguise. Join the Happily Committed Project to learn how to transform your relationship in a meaningful and dignified way!
And before I sign off, just remember, conflict is a normal part of relationships. It all just depends on how you resolve it.
I sincerely wish you all the best in life and love,
Your coach when you’re looking for conflict resolution techniques for couples,