You and your partner just had the worst argument about finances. You really wanted to go on that trip but he did not think that it was a good idea and simply told you that it would not happen. As far as he was concerned, this was the end of the discussion. While it was the end of the discussion for him, nothing was resolved. In this blog, we want to help you and your partner reconcile and reconnect after an argument.
Arguments Are Common
According to BusinessWire, nearly three in four (73 percent) married or cohabitating Americans say financial decisions are a source of tension in their relationship. According to a survey completed by AICPA:
- Nearly half of American couples experiencing financial tension admit it had a negative impact on intimacy with their partner.
- Financial tension is more often an issue for men than women.
- 7 in 10 married or cohabiting Americans have had a disagreement with their partner about finances in the past.
- Financial infidelity is enough to end 2 in 5 relationships.
- Parents with children in the household experience financially driven relationship issues at a significantly higher rate.
So, the fact that you and your partner are having an argument about finances is not anything that is uncommon. Additionally, conflict is not a bad thing in a relationship. It is actually a good thing but the manner in which it is addressed makes the difference.
Guerrero and Floyd (2005) identify five strategies of resolving conflict which include competing strategy, collaborating strategy, accommodating strategy, avoiding strategy and compromising strategy.
Let’s look more closely at these:
- Competing Strategy – When an individual is involved in a competing strategy to resolve conflict, each person is going toe to toe. Eventually, one person gives in or both people just walk off with their hurt.
- Accommodating Strategy – When an individual engages in accommodating conflict resolution, one person gives in to the other person. A person loses to the well-being of the other.
- Avoiding Strategy – When using the avoiding strategy, each person avoids addressing the issue. Nothing is discussed and there is absolutely no solution.
- Compromising Strategy – In compromising conflict resolution, each person gives in to what one person wants. It might be beneficial for the other person but it does not help to resolve the issue. Direct-Cooperative (Collaborating) Win-Win – In collaborating conflict resolution, each person works together to resolve the issue. Each person’s concerns and interests are considered and a solution is reached. This is the desired way of resolving conflict.
- Collaborating Strategy – When using the collaborating strategy to conflict resolution, both parties express their point of view and both work together to resolve the conflict. This is the ideal way of resolving conflict.
Conflict in relationships is unavoidable. Sometimes your partner will seem like the most wonderful person in the world and other times they will seem like the most annoying person in the world. There are times when your partner will do things that will trigger you. The goal is not to avoid these triggers but to address them in a way that you are able to preserve the relationship afterward.
According to The Gottman Institute, the goal of conflict is to: practice self-soothing, accept your partner’s influence, and have a dialogue about your problem.
- Practice Self-Soothing – Maybe getting upset was a challenge for you. But, it is important that you have compassion for yourself. Do something to pour back into yourself. Say kind things to yourself, go out for a walk, take a nap, watch your favorite TV show, get some ice cream (hey, sometimes a cup of ice cream will do the trick!), or do whatever is necessary to help you to calm down.
- Accept Your Partner’s Influence – In the words of Garrett Counseling’s Lynne Kilgore, LPC, “seek to understand and then to be understood.” In our relationship with our partner, we want to be able to understand their perspective on the situation. Our perception impacts our reality but our perception is not a true indication of reality. It is also important to be aware of your partner’s way of resolving conflict.
- Have A Dialogue About Your Problem – Have a conversation with your partner about the conflict. What is it that caused you to feel upset? As human beings, we have triggers which can be emotional, environmental or a person. We must have awareness about what our own personal triggers are and communicate those things to our partner.
If you are wanting to continue to be in a relationship with your partner, reconciliation is necessary. A few additional tips for resolving conflict in your relationship include:
- Stay In The Here And Now – Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the here and now without any judgment. Gesell et al (2020) completed a study in which they examined the effects of mindfulness on conflict resolution. Many arguments or conflicts escalate because a person is focused on the past or the present and not being clear about the here and now. While the study found that this topic could benefit from further research, there seems to be evidence that mindfulness could have a positive impact on conflict resolution.
- Identify Each Person’s Point Of View On This Scenario – Allow your partner the chance to give their point of view and ask your partner for permission to give your point of view. Let’s say that you and your partner had an argument because you want to go on vacation but they do not think that your financial situation allows this. Well, your friend really wants you to go on this vacation and you think that you should be able to go.
- Explore The Pros And Cons Of Each Person’s Perspective From The Viewpoint Of The Relationship – If you go on this vacation, what are the pros and cons of that for your relationship? If you don’t go, what are the pros and cons of that for your relationship? Really take time to think about this.
- Look For The Common Ground In Each Of Your Perspectives – What is the need that you both have when it comes to this conflict? It is important to identify this and come to a shared perspective in order to move forward.
- Choose A Solution That You Can Both Agree On And Move Forward – What is a solution that you and your partner can both agree on? The goal of conflict is not for one person to be right but for each part to benefit from the conflict being resolved.
Problems in relationships are unavoidable but they are still possible to be worked through. Dr. Gottman’s research revealed that 69% of conflict in relationships is perpetual. If you find that you are having a difficult time with moving forward in your relationship after an argument with your partner, Garrett Counseling has trained counselors who are available to support you. Contact us today at (256) 239-5662 or online to schedule an appointment.
This article was written by LaTasha Toney, a telehealth mental health professional at Garrett Counseling. Learn more about LaTasha here.
Read more articles by LaTasha:
- What Does Depression Look Like?
- How Can I Connect When I Don’t Want To Leave My House?
- How Can I Manage My Anger?
Gesell, N., Niklas, F., Schmiedeler, S. et al. Mindfulness and Romantic Relationship
Outcomes: the Mediating Role of Conflict Resolution Styles and Closeness. Mindfulness 11, 2314–2324 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01449-9.
Guerrero, Laura K, and Kory Floyd (2005), Nonverbal Communication in Close
Relationships, Taylor & Francis Group, 2005, ProQuest Ebook Central, Chapter 8, Conflict & Disengagement, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/waldenu/detail.action?docID=274516, page 198-224, retrieved 05-05-2022.