Thus far in the conflict resolution process we have learned several skills: Be polite and respectful by making an appointment with each other, clarify the conflict by being specific, assertively taking ownership of each individual’s perspective, and letting the other know what does not work for you. Today we move to the most exciting aspect of conflict resolution, the area where I believe that each couple really wants to go–being creative.
In healthy relationships each individual can and does have a fulfilled life without the other. However, there is something about doing creative things with another person that completes our lives. I truly enjoy my alone time and need to be alone often, but I also fully enjoy doing things with Beth and reflecting together about the success of projects. Step 5 in our conflict resolution process is this creative step.
Take time in your weekly meeting to share with each other how you’ve always wished the conflict could be solved. Again, the focus is on being assertive, not aggressive. I do not force my will, I share my will. As my other shares her will with me we can begin to brainstorm new possibilities.
I recommend that couples step outside the “either-or” process as well. By this I mean: be willing to allow creativity to come into the discussion. It is very easy to get into “mind-reading” each other, especially if you have been a couple for an extended time. You may feel that you already know what the other wants to see happen. Accept the possibility that change can happen and work to make it happen. Creative brainstorming, in an assertive fashion will allow for this.
I’ll clarify this in tomorrow’s post.