In relationship conflicts, the problem is not always the problem. Often the solution is the problem. When you try to solve a problem and the conflict remains, the way you went about solving it created another problem. When your solution and your spouse’s solution are in conflict, the problem persists. When you both believe that your solution is the only correct one, the problem persists.
“Just do it my way and everything will be fine.” Wouldn’t life be simpler if people just fell in line? Of course. But how realistic is that? Often the way you go about solving a problem creates yet another problem. If you want your husband to clean the bathroom and you remind him ten times a day, give him the guilt-trip, or refuse to have sex until he does, your solution to this problem created another problem. He is now angry and resentful that you’re treating him like a child and you are withholding sex.
You want to raise your children one way and your wife has other ideas. So both of you use your very different child-rearing methods because you cannot figure out how to agree on which way is best. The result: your children learn quickly how to manipulate both of you to get what they want. Because you didn’t negotiate and plan how you wanted to raise your children you now have another problem: children who are training you!
When you hold on stubbornly to your solution, believing there is no other possible way to solve your problem, you close off any workable solutions. Negotiating and problem solving take time. Often couples do not want to do this. They just want the problem solved. Usually, that means they want the problem solved “my way.”
As you can see, sometimes the problem is not the problem. Often the solution is the problem. You have a creative mind. You can find a variety of solutions. If you are stuck, consider a therapist or relationship coach to help you see other possibilities. Be careful to avoid becoming so invested in your solution that you refuse to look at other options. There is always another way.