Conflict is natural, and every couple will experience it at some point in their relationship. The difference between a couple who can navigate this conflict and those who allow conflict to break their bond comes down to proven conflict resolution strategies.
The following are highly effective strategies every couple can use to get to the other side of a conflict in a loving and respectful way:
Create a Safe Space
When an argument begins, how many of us go into it with the intent of “winning” or proving the other person wrong? Having this intention is a recipe for disaster and resentment.
To resolve conflict, you and your partner need to establish respectful rules. These can include:
- No yelling
- No name-calling
- No physical aggression
- No foul language
- No blaming or shaming
Without a safe space to interact, no real communication can take place.
Validate the Other Person’s Feelings
Resolving conflict requires validation of both partners’ feelings. When you place blame on the other or state that they are somehow wrong, they will feel unheard and misunderstood. And arguing from this place will never lead to resolution of the original conflict.
Acknowledge your partner’s feelings. Listen fully when they speak. Make eye contact (stay off your phone!). Nod while they are speaking. Thank them for sharing their thoughts and feelings with you.
You will be amazed at how much different things go when you validate your partner.
Find the Middle-Ground
Conflict resolution ultimately relies on both of you being able to come to a compromise. Look for ways to find that balance between what the both of you want and what you are comfortable with.
Depending on the root cause of the conflict, professional counseling may be warranted. A couple most likely can navigate an argument that stems from someone not doing their fair share of chores. But a conflict that is rooted in, say, financial trouble or an infidelity, may warrant professional help.
If you and your partner seem to be unable to resolve your conflicts on your own and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how therapy can help.