How to Resolve a Conflict For Couple Tips
Conflict in long-term relationships is inevitable, but how you deal with it is what makes all the difference. You can dig in and fight it out or you can seek resolution.
One of the most important ways to resolve a conflict is to be open-minded. It helps couples set their egos aside and listen to each other without bias.
1. Listen to Your Partner
One of the best ways to deescalate a conflict is to actively listen to your partner. This is not always easy, but it is important to listen without interruption and with empathy. If you can understand the other side’s perspective, then compromise or a mutually agreeable solution may be reached.
When you are listening to your partner, don’t focus only on what they say but also on what is meant by their words and body language. Be aware of any defensiveness or destructive communication patterns like criticism, stonewalling or contempt. These will only escalate the conflict and possibly damage your relationship.
It is important to talk about your needs and expectations as a couple early on in the relationship, so they can be understood. Keeping these conversations open and honest will help reduce the number of arguments you have in the future.
2. Focus on the Present
The way you focus on a conflict will determine its outcome. If you spend energy fighting, blaming each other, or withdrawing emotionally, you will end up where you don’t want to be—in an unfulfilling relationship or separated from your spouse. But if you learn to communicate respectfully and compromise with one another, you will be able to find solutions that satisfy both of your needs.
Keep your conversations focused on the present. It’s tempting to bring up other seemingly related issues during a discussion, but this will only confuse the topic and make it more difficult to reach mutual understanding and a solution.
Also, learn to “pick your battles.” Not all conflicts are worth arguing over. Trying to solve every problem or disagreement that arises will only exhaust you and your partner. Oftentimes, surface expressions of anger and frustration are simply symptomatic of larger problems that need to be addressed. This may include personality traits your partner has that rub you the wrong way or long-standing financial issues. These are problems that will inevitably come up throughout your relationship, but you can manage them constructively.
3. Pick Your Battles
There is no such thing as a conflict-free relationship, but you can improve the frequency and severity of your disagreements by picking your battles wisely. It takes a keen sense of self-awareness to know which arguments are worth fighting and which ones are not. Often, couples get into fights over silly things that they could easily let go.
The key is to learn how to identify and understand your own negativity threshold, which is the maximum amount of negative sentiment that you can tolerate before it starts to affect you negatively. You should also be willing to forgive your partner so that you don’t hold onto unaired grievances.
In addition, it is important to understand the larger context of your conflicts. Arguments, tension and conflicts never occur in a vacuum; they are always caused by environmental stressors or deeper issues. By seeing the bigger picture, you can address the root cause and create more lasting resolutions. This is a new way of viewing your conflicts; rather than thinking of them as adversarial, you should think of them as an opportunity to achieve greater unity.
4. Be Open-Minded
One of the most important conflict resolution relationship tips is to remain open-minded during a disagreement. It’s easy to get caught up in your own argument and lose sight of what is truly at stake for both you and your partner. However, keeping an open mind and considering both sides of the story without bias will help you reach a peaceful resolution faster.
It’s also important to communicate clearly during a conflict. By stating your needs and expectations in a respectful way, you can avoid saying things that may come off as aggressive or dismissive. Additionally, by using “I feel” statements when communicating during a conflict, you can demonstrate empathy for your partner’s feelings.
It’s also crucial to have a support system in place during times of conflict. This could include a trusted friend, counselor, or family member. However, make sure they’re not the kind of people who will bring their own emotional demons and biased opinions into your relationship. Thestrup recommends finding people who can help you think more objectively about the situation and offer constructive feedback.
5. Forgive Your Partner
Falling in love is an incredible experience, but it’s important to remember that if the relationship is going to last, both people have to be willing to forgive. Misunderstandings, heated arguments and blame games can damage a couple’s connection by driving them apart. Rather than fighting to be right or win an argument, healthy conflict resolution requires loving confrontation.
Forgiveness is a choice to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. It doesn’t mean that you’re condoning or excusing bad behavior, but it does allow you to relinquish the hold that a hurtful incident has over you.
If you can’t forgive your partner, it may be time to end the relationship. This is especially true if your partner refuses to stop abusing you or continues to lie to you. However, if you can forgive them and they work to change their behavior, the situation may resolve itself with a mutually satisfying resolution. Be sure to set new, healthier boundaries in the future. For example, if your partner lies again, tell them that you will no longer tolerate lying.