A reader writes in:
Whenever my fiancé and I get in a conflict she always wonders if I love her. I believe I express my love enough with words and I whatnot and she needs to trust me more. Conflicts and stressful situations happen. Part of life. She’s one of the most respectful woman I have ever met. Very submissive. Never really talks back. How do I respond to this? She gets scared so easily. It’s almost comical at times.
Women tend to shy away from or be scared of conflict situations, so this is normal behavior. How you respond to it can give you a leg up in developing more trust.
There’s several ways to approach this in a godly masculine manner that can increase trust and intimacy:
- Physical — pull her into a big hug. Nothing shows that you love her like pulling her into your arms until she feels comforted and melts. Bonus points for saying something along the lines of “aww, get over here” while you pull her into a big hug. Additionally, hold her hand while you are talking with her if the conflict has not ended yet.
- Surrounding circumstances — you don’t want to be in any type of conflict in a high pressure atmosphere like in public or with loud noises around. A quiet, calm place is the best.
- Connect emotionally — and no, this is not splay out your feelings to her. It’s normal to feel scared when emotions and tensions are high, and it’s a good idea to let her know that it is OK to feel the way she is feeling. However, the way each of you respond to it makes a difference: conflict means you should run toward each other rather than pull away from each other.
- Be thankful for the opportunity to resolve it — when my wife was just my girlfriend and fiancee, one of the hardest things for her was that when there was conflict, she constantly pulled away, pouted, and otherwise shut down from conversation. One of the ways to get around this is to be thankful not angry, even if a situation was a cause to get angry. What I mean by this is that when she brings up a conflict situation, you need to thank her for bringing it up. Be patient, slow to anger, and abounding in love in such situations makes it much easier for her to not only know that you have her back but you can figure things out with her or with the situation without blowing up in anger like other men.
- Acknowledge that men and women are different — this is sort of obvious to us around these parts, but men and women respond to things differently. Not saying that it being “comical” is like patronizing her, but it helps to looking at the situation from an understanding point of view. She is the weaker vessel, and she needs more delicate intervention than a male friend would.
- Include flavor with the food — Remember, women need flavor with food. While you can directly criticize a man, women tend to take direct criticism as “not loving.” The technique of the “compliment sandwich” is a good example of how to make criticism more palatable. Praise her, “sometimes I notice that [insert criticism here]”, praise her.
- Trivial and fleeting — if it’s something very trivial and fleeting and doesn’t make any long term impact, you can simply just ‘reframe’ or change the subject. Getting her mind off of it basically solves the issue for these smaller ones.
These are the main ones that I can think of at the moment that I personally do, but I’m sure there’s more.
If any readers have good ways that they resolve potential conflict in their relationships, feel free to chime in.