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3 Strategies For Managing Relationship Conflict This Winter Season

by Feb 15, 2016Couples and Marriage, Relationships0 comments

Has being cooped up this winter season got you feeling a little snippy with your partner?

Is The Winter Season To Blame?

There are many reasons that the winter season can be stressful on relationships.

The time from November to January is jam-packed with holidays, which can bring both excitement and stress. After the holidays, there’s not much going on and it’s back to work as usual.

The lack of sunlight can also be quite a downer as evidenced by the discovery of Seasonal Affective Disorder by Dr. Norman Rosenthal.

Because of the low temperatures we’re not as likely to venture outside for exercise and end up hibernating in our homes, leaving us with a lack of physical activity, which decreases our outlets for stress.

The frequent snowstorms that leave the roads dangerous may also keep us tied to our homes for several days allowing boredom to set in. Restlessness and lethargy are not a great combination when you are cooped up with your partner for an extended period of time.

No Need To Worry

Many couples have misconceptions about conflict and fighting in their intimate relationships. They believe discord is a sign that the relationship is troubled or doomed.

This often leads to destructive relationship patterns. Some couples may avoid conflict out of fear of losing the relationship – leading both partners to collect resentment. Or couples may have conflict that goes unchecked, and un-repaired, leaving emotional wounds that are difficult to heal.

First of all it is important to realize that conflict is a normal part of being in a relationship. It means you are human. It is a misconception that healthy couples don’t fight.

Remember, as detailed in a previous post, you will have conflict no matter what partner you choose.

If you are feeling like either one of the bears in the cover photo, don’t fret. Below are three strategies to help you through the winter season and reduce the negative effects of conflict on your relationship.

 

3 Strategies For Managing Relationship Conflict This Winter Season

 

1) Make Your Conflict Constructive

Since relationship conflict is inevitable, why not make the best of it and find the silver lining.

You can do just this by turning your conflict into an opportunity for learning and growth.

For more guidance on this strategy, check out this article on PsychCentral aptly titled Why Conflict Is Great For Your Relationship & How To Make It Constructive.

Once you are able to constructively deal with the conflicts and disagreements that arise in your relationship, you are bound to find ways to overcome discord as well.

2) Identify Ways To Overcome Conflict

With practice, there are many avenues in which you can prevail over conflict. Most of these avenues involve themes of letting go, acceptance, and patience.

Examples of this may include: deciding that you will no longer ‘keep score’ in your relationship, leaving the past alone, asking your partner for clarification instead of jumping to conclusions or assuming you know their intentions, and focusing on the behaviors of your partner instead of launching personal attacks on their character.

Here is a more extensive list by Tiny Buddha: 10 Ways To Overcome Conflicts In Relationships and Grow Together.

3) Spend Time Apart

Because of the nature of the winter season, you are probably spending a large amount of time with your partner – more so than usual. And spending more than a usual amount of time together can be a recipe for petty fights.

You know, those little tiffs you get into that are ignited by nothing more than being around someone for too long? There’s an easy fix for that. Spend some time alone, or with people who are not your partner – like close friends or family.

Just one day, evening, or night per week sans partner, in a strange way, can nurture your relationship and bring you two closer together.

Featured on Your Tango, here’s an article about Why Time Apart Is The Best Way To Stay Together.

 

If you would like to learn more about managing conflict, here’s an added bonus

Check out the 4 part series on managing conflict by Zach Brittle on The Gottman Relationship Blog:

Manage Conflict – Part 1

Manage Conflict – Part 2

Manage Conflict – Part 3

Manage Conflict – Part 4

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