The goal has nothing to do with eliminating conflict. Disagreement is normal and often helpful. Just because a couple has some fights doesn’t mean anyone needs to hit the panic button.
Misunderstandings are inevitable. The key is knowing what healthy conflict looks and feels like. From there, there must be a mutual commitment to such a positive mindset.
How To Have Healthy Conflict For A Better Relationship
Change Your Goal Perception
When in disagreement with the love of your life, the goal is not to crush and win. A conflict between partners is not a competition. Instead, begin any such interaction with a shared, win-win goal. Of course, this will vary on a case-by-case basis. But the general concept holds.
Commit to Healthy and Evolving Communication
Even in the most contentious of conversations, what matters most is how you communicate. Choosing a direct, honest, and respectful style lays a foundation. Demonstrating that you are willing to listen and validate makes differences less intimidating. Most importantly, accept the reality that healthy communication is a lifelong process.
Look For Underlying Issues
You may start to feel like you’re having the same argument over and over. Usually, in such instances, the receptive fight is about something trivial. This is a signal that you both need to explore if you’re not facing up to a deeper, root problem. Perhaps some needs are not being met but it feels safer to complain about dirty dishes or noisy chewing.
Set, Respect, and Enforce Boundaries
No matter how big the disagreement is, nothing excuses rude, disrespectful, or abusive behavior. Partners know each other’s secrets. They can push buttons better than anyone. Never, under any circumstance, is this acceptable or must it be tolerated.
Agree to Disagree
Yes, this is allowed. There are issues on which you will never agree but it’s okay. You can actually drop it and be fine. It’s utterly unrealistic to assume that any two people will agree on anything. So, if some clashes can exist without resolution, let them go. Related to this is the use of compromise. Both of you give a little and then move on without rancor.
Most problems can wait. If the time isn’t right or one of you is struggling their emotions, put it aside. Make sure you get back to it soon, of course, but don’t push things. This type of agreement is another way of separating your emotions from the topic at hand.
There will be times when you are 100 percent you’re right. Nothing will make you budge. This is the precise moment to activate your curiosity. Listen closely to what your partner is saying and maintain an open mind. Even if it does not shift your opinion, it’s a positive practice of love and acceptance.
Apologies and Forgiveness
Own your missteps. Give authentic apologies. Offer forgiveness whenever possible. This is a basic form of conflict resolution that sets the stage for future arguments to be less stressful.
When Things Have Devolved Too Far
Conflict can get to a point where it has left a scar on a relationship. Even the most benign disagreements feel fraught. This is where couples therapy can be so ideal. In the presence of an unbiased guide, it can feel much safer and easier to talk openly and in a healthy manner. Let’s connect and discuss couples therapy.