The Relationship Trap: You Survived Your First Fight, Now How Do You Keep the Flame Alive?By Purnima BalrajuJun 07, 2017
Your first fight as a couple was about a misunderstanding, a miscommunication or an offhanded remark that touched a nerve. But you survived it. You both talked it through and the worst is behind you. Congratulations! The worst thing you can do now is to assume that things can go back to the way it was. Part of a healthy relationship is one where you both are learning and growing together.
As a couple, you have crossed the hurdle of your first fight. This means the “Honeymoon Stage” is over and you are more comfortable with your partner to discuss issues close to your heart. You are at a stage in your relationship to be vulnerable and open with your partner.
So how do you keep the flame alive while deepening the relationship? Create new connections. That is the key to pulling the relationship through beyond the fight to sustaining the relationship in the long term. It is not just any connection that would help. Sure, you both love the same genre of books and enjoy the same tv shows. However, the connections made on beliefs and values are the foundation of a lasting relationship.
Listening To Your Partner
Ask any couple celebrating over 30 years of marriage and they can vouch that listening is one of the key factors to a successful relationship. Yes, your relationship is in its infant stages. So looking at it lasting beyond 5 years can be a stretch. That being said, listening can help keep the spark alive.
Listen to your partner’s likes and dislikes. When they feel upset, surprise them with their favorite chocolate bar or make a stress-busting playlist for their down days. Showing that you listened, that you remembered. No matter how small the gesture may be, it goes a long way to sustaining the relationship.
Values On Family
This is not a question about meeting the parents. Rather it is how you both perceive family interactions. This is when the connections deepen. You are both asking each other questions about the role family has on your lives. Do you both see family as a form of social support? It could also be about something seemingly insignificant (for now) such as who would do the household chores? Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions like what is the extend you would sacrifice for your family? These give you an idea of what you value and if these are aligned with your partner’s too.
Angela Tan, a coach specializing in Intimacy and an expert on relationships, mentions that family is what we are exposed to as children and shapes our interactions as an adult. “The values we grew up with defines our approach in relationships”. Seeing eye-to-eye or reaching an understanding on each other’s values on family helps to create new connections and deepens the relationship further.
Beliefs On Handling Conflict
You can tell a lot about the relationship from the way the couple argues. Yes, it is how you solve it. Not what you argue about or how often this happens. Some couples argue frequently and surprisingly, relationship coaches do not see this as a red flag. What is a concern is how do you and your partner handle conflict?
A fight occurs because two people have different views which are important to them and the partner is just as important to them too. Which is why opinions expressed can get heated. No hurt was intended, just that communication got out of control. Don’t view fights in a negative light. See it as a way to uncover each other’s vulnerabilities and viewpoints.
Here are some behaviors to be aware of:
- Do you and/or your partner blame each other in a fight?
- Are you and/or your partner using passive aggressive tones?
So how can you and your partner resolve the conflict constructively?
If you and your partner have habitually solved arguments by brushing it off or it ends in the silent treatment, Angela suggests following these steps to conflict resolution:
- Give each other space. It can be an hour or a day, but the main point is to let the anger dissipate so when you both talk, it can be done constructively.
- Before discussing the conflict, remind yourself of the reasons why you love them.
- Set up rules – how long each person gets to talk and expressing their emotions during the discussion.
- End every talk with how to move the relationship forward.
Going back to listening to your partner, paraphrase your partner’s concerns to show that you are making the effort to listen to them and that they and their concerns are important to you.
After the first fight, it is important to move the relationship forward. Keep in mind that you both still care for each other. Assuming that going back to your old ways will not sustain the relationship. It takes continued effort from both parties to redefine the relationship.
Do YOU want to take your relationship further? Join us for our workshop to recalibrate what love actually is and understanding intimacy.
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