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5 Key Steps in Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is a key challenge for many couples, but knowing how to de-escalate and manage conflict in relationships is an important skill. Repairing a rupture after an argument means acknowledging differences and working together to find solutions.

Often, our emotions can get in the way of good communication. When this happens, it can be difficult to focus on the source of tension and find a way to move past it; it can often feel more important to “win” the argument. But staying calm is a key part of resolving conflict in a respectful and constructive way.

When you need to manage conflict with your partner, try these five steps to conflict resolution in relationships.

1. Identify the source of the conflict

Sometimes, couples can find themselves in an argument that appears to be about one thing, but the true conflict is about something else entirely. For example, you might be disagreeing about what you’re having for dinner, but the actual problem is that one person feels they are always making day to day decisions and their partner doesn’t take on any of this mental load. Drilling down to what the real problem is will help for conflict resolution for couples.

2. Actively listen to your partner

Miscommunication and poor communication are a key issue in conflict. When we are emotionally invested in an argument, it can be hard to articulate ourselves well and to really hear what the other person is saying. But slowing down and actively listening will help prevent disagreements from growing into deeper conflicts. Paraphrasing what your partner is saying shows that you have listened and understood them, and it allows them to rephrase if needed.

3. Find common ground

Usually, in relationship conflict, there will be some common ground where you can find agreement or compromise. Focusing on this, instead of your points of difference, can help to prevent the disagreement from escalating. For example, you might be disagreeing about where to send your child to school, but you can both agree that your priority is getting the best education possible.

4. Don’t focus on being right

Even when you feel like you are in the right, keep in mind that the other person probably feels the same way. The conflict will not be resolved if both of you are focused solely on winning the argument, rather than finding an outcome that is satisfactory for both of you. Ask yourself how you can work together to find a compromise or a resolution. If you know you have hurt your partner’s feelings, acknowledge this and apologise for doing so.

5. Keep the conflict between you

It is normal to want to vent to someone else when you are frustrated or upset from an argument. But try to avoid bringing other people into disagreements that you have with your partner. Additional people can escalate arguments, and can cause your partner to feel that they are being treated unfairly.

An experienced counsellor can help you with managing conflict in your marriage or relationship. They are an objective party who can provide a sounding board and specialised advice, without taking sides or getting directly involved.

If you feel like you could benefit from marriage counselling in Perth, or you want to find out more, please contact us for a discussion.

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