Worried that constant disagreements and arguments are impacting your relationship?
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, especially if you are living with that person 24/7 – but if they become persistent, escalate or become destructive then you need to address this development.
Here are 5 ways you can help to solve the conflict with your partner and work toward developing a healthy relationship.
1. Define the discussion
Too many discussions or arguments cover way too much ground – what relationship guru John Gottman refers to as ‘kitchen-sinking’. This is when couples raise or touch on every possible gripe they have with each other. Understandably the chances of resolving anything this way are close to zero. Rather focus on one topic, discuss it fully and try to get it resolved.
2. Be a good listener
The art of listening is underrated, but is an essential attribute in a relationship that has become defined by conflict. Active listening involves actually trying to understand what your partner is saying, and asking for clarification if you don’t. Each person also needs the space and time to get their point across, which means not interrupting and respecting their time to speak.
3. Be open and honest
You both need to be honest about how you are feeling and able to articulate it openly. If this essential environment is not present then unfortunately communication with your partner is doomed to failure. If you feel you can’t talk openly about all the big life issues – like money, career and aspirations, then this is a sign your relationship is unhealthy. You also need to be able to express your feelings openly and directly without fear of retaliation.
4. Avoid the blame game
It is all too easy to fall into the blame game when it comes to dealing with your partner. A more constructive approach is to focus on how you feel and describe their behaviour rather than a perceived character flaw. Attacking someone’s character is a sure way to increase conflict and will likely damage the relationship further.
5. Stay calm
If you feel the need to raise your voice or curse – don’t, no matter how heated or personal it all gets. You need to be calm and respectful throughout, and if the situation feels like it is getting out of control, leave to diffuse it.
And if you need a reminder what a healthy relationship is based on, here is a summary.
What is a healthy relationship based on?
A healthy relationship is when two people develop a connection based on:
- Mutual respect
- Good communication
- A sense of fun
If a relationship is not mutually supportive, or defined by continual criticism, manipulation or worse – then these are all signs of an unhealthy relationship.
Need to talk or book a session with your partner? Call me, Ginny, on 0412 88 2345 or message me at email@example.com if you are interested in exploring relationship counselling – I am always ready to listen!