Solving conflicts when values are deeply held

If your spouse resists trade-offs on most causing conflict, encourage each other on the end game and the common good it will bring. Photo/Internet

What you need to know:

  • Healthy management of conflict helps us make choices that create opportunities for both spouses. After all, life is the sum of all your choices because wisely negotiated choices are the hinges of destiny. 

During a conflict or disagreement in a relationship, our most precious beliefs and values get tested. One might wonder why, especially if the couple got together because they had shared values.
Although sometimes not openly discussed during dating, why do values later appear to take centre stage in differences or conflicts that marriage partners are confronted with? 
It goes without saying that choices have consequences. 

Therefore, weighing all aspects of an issue objectively when deciding is important, particularly where part or all the arguments presented come in direct conflict with convictions. It is possible for a relationship to die as soon as it starts. 
Many other relationships fade along the way depending on the choices we make. Although easy to make, choices guide the behaviour and actions in the relationships.
In marriage, partners will clash over morals or integrity standards expected of each other. When our most deeply held beliefs and principles are at stake, we might heighten the conflict out of a desire to be heard or just categorically refusing to negotiate on them.

Value conflicts include norms, beliefs, and identities we hold dearly. Now, these become difficult to resolve since this is the seat of who we are and our emotions. Strongly and deeply held beliefs, values or morals can lead us to uncompromising attitude where we refuse to make allowance for each other even when the held belief or value is faulty. This is where relationship fights become ugly. How do we resolve conflicts that arise over values?

Revisit your values
It is important to check whether the value is truly sacrosanct. Is it core that it cannot be compromised? If one partner is still of the view that their values are core and non-negotiable, then it is hard to change their stand. The question is whether we can consider one or more values as non-negotiable. 
The answer is yes.
There trying to understand why your partner feels convicted the way they do is important. For example, a lady may break a relationship over sexual advances by the boyfriend. Because the man sees sex before marriage as a non-issue, the other sees it as a violation of a deeper belief. But not all values are non-negotiable.

In cases where our values are discussable, resolution of conflict is easier because we are willing to discuss. However, where we are likely to compromise on a core value, then trouble awaits ahead.
Flexibility is only possible where the value under discussion, for example does not violate their deep held faith. 
If a partner refuses to budge on an issue they see as non-negotiable, choosing to honour their values without pretence will bring you closer to an agreement. Your bigger goal should be unity over conflict.

Keep the end in mind
Mature partners in a relationship know trade-offs on various issues can be beneficial. Some women may complain that they do not like their husbands going to be with friends out there. How about you as a wife creats an environment where you once in a while host these men at your house and put up a nice meal?
This trade-off could just be the game changer. Your end game must be the unity of the marriage. Instead of criticisms, always look for what you could make trade-off with.

If your spouse resists trade-offs on those causing conflict, encourage each other on the end game and the common good it will bring. When we focus on the advantages then being accommodative is easier. I have always wondered how symbolic it would be in resolving a deadlocked value conflict if the partner who is in the right decides to concede on one of their own core values or beliefs. 
This is what brokering a difficult situation in marriage could boil down to. The choice by the partner in the right bending forward for the sake of the relationship is what may be termed as sacrificial.

Show that you care
Do not be consumed with what you believe and desire to the extent that it blocks your heart from caring. Authenticity is key to any relationship. The temptation to take short cuts will manipulate and even lead us to lie to stay ahead.
Personally, I value speaking the truth in love even where it hurts or embarrasses. A spouse with an authentic agenda will use wisdom and understanding to put all things to rational thought. Many spouses may not be ready to hear words such as “No” and “I do not know what to say.” When we choose the hero’s route we argue and may even use unbecoming language so as to remain in charge.

Do not think that going along with our partner’s demands and requests in the end will not be good for their relationship. Resolving issues is not about winners and losers.
Healthy management of conflict helps us make choices that create opportunities for both spouses. After all, life is the sum of all your choices because wisely negotiated choices are the hinges of destiny. In the words of Flora Whitte, the doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

Beliefs
Now, these become difficult to resolve since this is the seat of who we are and our emotions. Strongly and deeply held beliefs, values or morals can lead us to uncompromising attitude where we refuse to make allowance for each other even when the held belief or value is faulty. This is where relationship fights become ugly. How do we resolve conflicts that arise over values?
 

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