PREPARE/ENRICH Australia Blog

4 Tips for Managing Relationship Conflict (Tip 3: Validate what your partner says)

Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of life and what matters is how we discuss and solve them. Seek to understand the feelings behind the emotion and seek to understand your partners view. Validate and show empathy as opposed to reacting or responding negatively. This also gives you time to think and process what is being said and ensures your response is more considered. You and your partner may not agree but you'll have approached the issue constructively.

The following strategy from relationship guru John Gottman will help you break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems:

3. "Validation": Validate your partners emotions by looking at the situation from his or her viewpoint. Often, simply empathising is enough. Back you partner - take their side. You don't have to agree or solve their problem, just validate the feeling. Validation foils criticism, contempt and defensiveness, areas that you should keep out of your relationship. Take responsibility for your words and actions, take a deep breath and listen, and experience the intimacy that ensues. Try it this week and notice the change.

Tip four, next week...

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PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

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