Conflict Resolution in Healthy Relationships
There is conflict in all relationships – verbal disagreements and arguments. People disagree and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, everyone has the right to a different opinion from their partner.
In a healthy relationship communication is key. When you communicate effectively, you understand your partner better and make your relationship stronger.
If your conflict is based on which film to see or who should do the dishes etc then some of the tips below may be useful:
- Set Boundaries: Everyone deserves to be treated with respect — even during an argument. Make sure that you both understand that name-calling and insults are not acceptable. It is possible to argue without reverting to verbal abuse.
- Find out the real issue: Typically, arguments happen when one partner’s wants are not being met. Try to get to the heart of the matter. If your partner seems needy, maybe they are just feeling insecure and need your encouragement. If, for example, you’re angry that your partner isn’t taking out the bins, maybe you’re really upset because you feel like you do all the work around the house. Learn to talk about the real issue so you can avoid constant fighting.
- Agree to disagree: If you and your partner can’t resolve an issue, sometimes it’s best to drop it. You can’t agree on everything. Focus on what matters. If the issue is too important to just drop then maybe you can set aside some time to talk about it.
- Compromise when possible: Easy to say but hard to do, compromising is a major part of conflict resolution and any successful relationship. Find a middle ground that can allow both of you to feel satisfied with the outcome. Remember that you are both different people with different expectations.
- Consider everything: Is this issue really important? Does it change how the two of you feel about each other? Are you compromising your beliefs or morals? If yes, it’s important that you really stress your position. If not, maybe this is a time for compromise. Also, consider your partner’s arguments. Why are they upset? What does the issue look like from their point of view? Is it unusual for your partner to get this upset? Does your partner usually compromise? Are you being inconsiderate?
Relationship conflict occurs when expectations aren’t being met. Everyone enters into a relationship with certain expectations which are based on past experiences, childhood, or how you think things should be.
But no two people think the same, no matter how much they have in common.
Instead of seeing conflict as a threat to a relationship, what if we see it as an opportunity for the relationship to grow and mature?
This requires understanding that conflict will inevitably occur in any close relationship.