I was in the shopping mall the other day and as I was going down the escalator, a young couple with two little boys was heading up – well, almost. The mum and two boys hopped onto the escalator and the dad refused to move from where he was standing at the bottom. They were apparently supposed to be going out for a nice dinner and were all dressed up for the occasion, but something had clearly happened in the car on the way in, and I could just about cut the air with a knife! They were all probably looking forward to a rare family night out and it all came undone because of an argument. Of course, I wasn’t privy to the cause of the argument but the tone of voices used, the body language, and the separate directions of the mum and dad, all pointed to a spoilt evening. We all experience conflict at various times in our life. If conflict is occurring with your partner, it might be due to differences of opinion, inability to see each other’s perspective, poor communication, reluctance to compromise. Whatever the cause, it’s important to take steps to resolve the conflict. Our partners are not the enemy! So one of you needs to offer the olive branch. Remember that the silent treatment or holding a grudge never resolved an argument.
What do you do when there is conflict with your partner? Simply saying ‘sorry’ can be a good starting point, and maybe reaching out to show your partner how much you care for them – perhaps a hug, hold their hand, promise to talk about your differences once the night is over and the kids are in bed. Communicate with each other, and if that is too difficult on a face-to-face level, maybe even try writing it all down for your partner to read. Little steps in the right direction can have a big impact on conflict resolution.