How to Have Healthy Conflict in Your Relationship
You come home after a long day at work, hoping to fall onto the couch for the rest of the night. Your plans are immediately ruined when you open up the front door. You find an overflowing trash can, dishes piling in the sink, etc.
You and your partner had an agreed-upon cleaning schedule, but it seems like only one of you is holding up their end of the bargain. Understandably, you might be frustrated and want to scold them or call them out. However, that type of reaction doesn’t always yield the most productive conversations.
Let’s take a few deep breaths and rewind. Reacting out of anger and irritation may feel good in the moment, but could have negative effects in the long run. This is one way communication breakdowns start in relationships.
Whether there’s a discrepancy in who’s doing chores, frivolous spending, planning an event, etc., here’s how to have healthy conflict in a relationship.
Use Open and Direct Communication
One of the most important factors of a healthy relationship is open, honest, and direct communication. In a healthy relationship, you’re able to discuss the good as well as the bad.
If you feel like you can’t talk about certain topics with your partner, that’s usually a good sign that your communication with one another isn’t where it should be.
Communication is key when it comes to expressing positives as well as finding solutions to the negatives.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
Be mindful of the wording and verbiage you choose to use, especially when discussing a topic that may be sensitive. Try to use “I” instead of “You”.
This simple swap of a word can make all the difference. By phrasing your sentences with “I”, it comes off as a lot less accusatory. Express how you feel instead of certain actions or how you think about something. This phrasing can help deter your partner from going into defense mode.
Listening is just as important, if not more important, than communicating. It’s a two-way street. It takes both of you to form your relationship, which means that it takes both of you to talk and listen to one another.
When your partner is talking to you, make an active effort to listen to them and show them that you’re listening. Try not to get distracted by devices. Even if you feel like you know what they’re going to say, let them explain their thoughts and feelings. Don’t interrupt because this can cause miscommunication down the road.
Pick Your Battles
Sometimes, you have to pick and choose your battles. In a healthy relationship, if a conflict comes up, you should be able to openly discuss the situation as soon as a problem arises.
It’s almost always better to discuss an issue when it first happens instead of letting it build and worsen over time.
Of course, there are and will be times when your partner does something that you don’t like or that annoys you. No one is perfect, and that’s okay! Sometimes, you will have to pick your battles based on what’s important to you.
A conflict should never spiral out of control and bring up other conflicts. Try to focus on one issue at a time so that the root of the matter can be resolved fully.
Don’t Avoid Conflict
Conflict can seem scary, especially in a relationship. The truth is, healthy conflict can actually help strengthen your relationship and bond with one another.
If you’re struggling with healthy conflict in your relationship, reach out to us today to schedule an individual or couples therapy appointment.
Click here for more information on couples therapy.