Conflict Resolution Skills Every Couple Should Work On

Conflict is a natural part of relationships. When you bring two different people with two different perspectives and communication styles, and everything in between, there is bound to be disagreements. Fighting with your partner doesn’t feel good, and it can definitely create stress and tension between you, which is why working on how you resolve the conflict is key. The alternative — not attempting to resolve it and sweeping it under the carpet — will only result in resentment and ongoing conflict, which will only impact the health of your relationship. Which is why working on your conflict resolution skills are integral for the strength and well-being of your relationship. 

“Simply put, conflict resolution is the way we go about working through a disagreement/issue with the goal of coming to a solution where everyone involved feels satisfied,” Hannah Guy, LCSW. “Learning how to work through conflict with your partner is vital to keep your relationship healthy and thriving. We are all human and we bring our own baggage to each relationship. It’s really not about not having baggage as you enter a relationship, it’s more about how you manage said baggage.”

But resolving conflicts in relationships is difficult as well and requires practice. According to Guy, this is mainly because “when there is a disagreement, it’s very easy for our body’s trauma brain (your fight/flight/freeze center) to become activated. When it is activated, we aren’t able to actually hear what our partner is saying and work towards a resolution. We end up being guarded, shut down, or defensive with our partners or on the other side of the spectrum we become more aggressive, pushy, and demanding.”

When attempting to resolve a conflict together, Guy says the biggest thing to keep in mind is that you and your partner are a team. “It’s not a competition of who is right or wrong. Trying to look at things through the team lens, you are more able to look at the bigger picture and see what’s best for your relationship as a whole.”

Keeping that in mind, Guy shares some of the important conflict resolution skills every couple should work on. 

Be very direct about what the problem is

This is a reminder that your partner isn’t a mind reader. “Your partner isn’t going to know how to work through the issue you’re having if you don’t explicitly tell them what the issue is,” Guy says. “Without doing this, you’re going to be expending so much energy, time, and emotion and I promise you, you won’t get anywhere. You’ll most likely leave the conversation more confused and upset.”

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