As Kickass Couples Podcast hosts (and husband and wife), Matthew and Kimberly Hoffman, we want to recap some of the valuable insights we gained from our recent episode with KCN Elite Coaches and therapists Natalie Southward and Estrella Rogers. In this episode, we dove deep into the art of reducing and eliminating conflict in relationships, and we want to share some key takeaways with you.
1. Conflict is Natural: Natalie hit the nail on the head when she emphasized that it’s impossible to eliminate all conflict in a relationship, nor would you want to. Conflict is a natural part of any partnership. What matters is how you handle it. We need to view conflicts as invitations for growth and connection rather than as threats to the relationship.
2. The Importance of Empathy: Estrella reminded us of the critical role empathy plays in resolving conflicts. Understanding and stepping into your partner’s perspective, feelings, and needs is essential. Without empathy, you’ll struggle to validate your partner’s experiences and concerns, leading to more significant conflicts.
3. Fighting Fair: Both therapists stressed the importance of fighting fair. Establish rules for conflict with your partner to keep discussions respectful and healthy. Avoid the temptation to pile on issues; address them one at a time with calm, reasoned communication*(and be willing to table them to a better time if you or your partner are flooded and not in the right mindset!)
4. Root vs. Surface Issues: Often, couples focus on surface-level problems like finances, intimacy, or control. Natalie highlighted the need to shift the focus to root problems: communication. Effective communication is the key to addressing any issues that arise in your relationship.
5. Cultural Impact on Emotions: Estrella pointed out that cultural norms often encourage men to suppress their emotions. We encourage couples to challenge these societal expectations and embrace vulnerability. Sharing your feelings and concerns can deepen intimacy and understanding.
6. Understanding Needs: One of our core principles is understanding your partner’s number one need in any given moment. This knowledge empowers you to provide the support and connection they need, reducing friction and promoting a more connected relationship.
7. Handling Conflict Timelines: We discussed the dynamic between pursuers and distancers in conflicts. If one partner wants to address an issue immediately while the other needs time to cool down, create a plan for revisiting the conversation later. This approach ensures that both partners feel heard and understood.
8. Intervention and Mutual Responsibility: In cases of deadlock, Natalie intervenes to ensure both partners talk to each other instead of arguing. This approach encourages them to discuss their needs, desires, and concerns, leading to more constructive resolutions.
These are just a few of the valuable insights from our podcast episode. Reducing and eliminating conflict is a marathon, not a sprint! It’s all about how you approach it together. Remember that conflict is a natural part of any relationship- how you navigate it makes the difference. By focusing on empathy, fair fighting, and understanding your partner’s needs, you can create a relationship that’s more harmonious and fulfilling.
To dive deeper into this topic, be sure to listen to the full episode on our podcast. Stay tuned for more episodes where we’ll continue to explore ways to build stronger and more connected relationships.
Until next time. Remember, happily after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose!