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
2. Actively listen to your partner
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
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.