Step 3: Bandaging Wounds
Now that you have identified a few core issues that have kept your conflicts spinning, the next step is working to resolve or manage these issues. The first step is to come together and talk about the core issues when you are not already upset, when you are both willing and ready and when you have both had time to think through it individually. If you can’t mean these prerequisites, you are most likely not ready to take this step.
To help this conversation go as best as possible, plan for each of you to voice your side fully (although moderately concisely) but not to discuss what each other said. After you hear each other’s issues, part and give yourself time to think through what was said. Then, have a discussion about what to do about it. Be very intentional to stay on one issue at time. The conversation will get ship wrecked if you start stringing together all your issues and talking about everything at once.
The next step is harder to define. Hopefully, your conversation will help answer these questions: What do we do about these issues? How can I help that not happen anymore? What do I need to feel better about this issue? How do we keep this from happening in the future?
If you can’t get to these questions or you can’t find a good enough answer for it, then it might be time to seek help from a counselor. Having a trained, third party to help you identify and work through these issues will be a different experience that you trying to do it on your own.
Finally, remember that you both have been wounded. Even if your conversations have been more productive, you might not feel totally better or you might still be sensitive about the issue. You will likely need some positive experiences together to replenish your relationship.