“I’m Not Yelling, You’re Yelling”: Top 5 Tips to Managing Conflict with Your Partner
Contrary to popular belief, conflict within a relationship is healthy. Conflict allows us to express our inner concerns and/or feelings and often leads to positive resolution. How you handle that conflict, however, typically results in one of two ways: bringing people together or tearing people apart. Poor communication, lack of respect and defensiveness makes conflict resolution nearly impossible. Here are some tips on managing conflict effectively to guide you to reaching that point of resolution that you’re seeking.
Listen- Don’t interrupt when your partner is expressing their feelings. Reflect on what they are saying and show acknowledgment that you hear them. This will allow them to be more willing to listen to you. It can be hard at times to understand their point of view but being able to listen to what they have to say is the foundation towards conflict resolution.
Use “I” Statements- Rather than saying things like “You really messed up”, speak on how you feel and what you need. Express those feelings and needs using language such as, “I feel ____ about ____. I need ____”. This decreases defensiveness and criticism from your partner and allows them to better understand your point of view.
Own Your Part– Believe it or not, it takes two to argue. Being able to take responsibility for what your partner believes you did wrong is a strength. It can diffuse the situation, shows maturity and often allows the other person to do the same.
Take a Time Out- Breaks are good. Continuing to argue when we are emotionally “flooded” only makes the situation worse. Taking a timeout from the conflict allows for all parties involved to clear their mind, gather their thoughts and take a couple deep breaths to relieve themselves of any stress. The key when taking a time out is coming back to the conversation 30 minutes later to re-approach the discussion with a cleared mind.
Look for Compromise– There is no “winning” in conflict. Consider solutions that will meet everyone’s prioritized needs. Perhaps there is a solution that allows you to meet in the middle pleasing both sides. Compromising also increases teamwork which will benefit your relationship and prepare you for any future conflict you may have.
Remember, the goal for managing conflict is not “winning” or “being right”. The goal is mutual understanding and finding a solution to the issue.
If you and/or your partner need further guidance when managing conflict, The Summit Counseling Center has couples’ therapists at both our Main and Satellite locations. To schedule an appointment or for more information call 678-893-5300 or visit us at www.summitcounseling.org.