Ask couples to focus solely on the issue at hand

When dealing with conflict in a couples relationship, it's important that they resist the urge to bring up past experiences that have already been resolved and reopen them for discussion. Acknowledging the current disagreement and working through the conflict by actively listening is a great goal.

We have provided some thoughts to consider when working with couples:

  • What are their automatic negative responses when conflict arises? Anger? Withdrawal? Defensiveness?
  • How do these reactions affect their ability to resolve issues respectfully?
  • What can they do to counteract these reactions?
  • How can they show their partner respect in the midst of conflict?
  • What does each partner need to feel respected?
  • Why is it important to be conscious of respect?
  • What does “take responsibility for their own feelings” mean?
  • What does it feel like to recognise their feelings in the situation? Are they relieved? Do they feel more vulnerable? Do they feel proud? How does this help emotionally charged situations?

Respect and reminding couples that they are on the same team is important, and knowing it’s okay to take a time out when needed. While embracing the conflict and dealing with it can be uncomfortable, ultimately it can bring a couple closer together.

PREPARE/ENRICH has several resources to help you unpack and mine the assessment results. For more details on this exercise, refer to the PREPARE/ENRICH Discussion Guide for Couples.

Do you need help or assistance with using PREPARE/ENRICH or working with couples online, call us any time: (02) 9520 4049 or email:

#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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