PREPARE/ENRICH Australia Blog

Conflict management

Conflict in relationships is inevitable: Crack a joke

You can try to avoid conflict by tamping down negative emotions and brushing seemingly minor issues under the rug, but at some point, they will come back to bite you. Many times this is in the form of a blowup that is completely disproportional to whatever seemed to trigger it. You end up fighting not only about the topic at hand but ten other previously unaddressed issues as well.

Conflict in relationships is inevitable: Exercise good communication skills

Maintain good eye contact, use “I” statements, identify feelings, and use active listening.

Conflict in relationships is inevitable: Be specific

Avoid generalisations such as “You always forget our plans,” or “You never listen to me!” Focus on a specific behavior or action and how it affects you.

Conflict in relationships is inevitable: Speak respectfully

Avoid name-calling or hurtful words that you may regret later. Hurling insults is likely to move your partner to be defensive and potentially create lasting wounds.

Conflict in relationships is inevitable: fighting fair is making about making an argument an opportunity

You can try to avoid conflict by tamping down negative emotions and brushing seemingly minor issues under the rug, but at some point, they will come back to bite you. Many times this is in the form of a blowup that is completely disproportional to whatever seemed to trigger it. You end up fighting not only about the topic at hand but ten other previously unaddressed issues as well.

PREPARE/ENRICH: Conflict - How to take time out

Some conflicts become heated as levels of anger and frustration rise. Rather than speaking assertively, partners begin to accuse, criticize, or yell. Rather than listening actively, partners interrupt, belittle, and ignore.

PREPARE/ENRICH: Dealing with Conflict

When you are working with couples’ and the area of conflict resolution, it might be useful to encourage couples to think about how they interpret the reasons for any unhelpful behaviours or attitudes that their partner might be engaging in or expressing.

4 Tips for Managing Relationship Conflict (Tip 4: Practice, practice, practice)

They say practice makes perfect, but when it comes to our relationships, we are likely to make mistakes. The key is building awareness and developing skills and practicing those skills: awareness of the ineffective ways we resort to when there is conflict and understanding the physical signs that give us an indication that things are getting heated. Then developing skills to engage more effectively and to practice them over and over to ensure we relate better. Be intentional about how you handle conflict.

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.

4 Tips for Managing Relationship Conflict (Tip 2: Speak non-defensively)

Having an argument does not mean that your relationship is in trouble. By listening and speaking in a non-defensive fashion and avoiding criticism you can help foster healthy discussion. Disagreements and differences are an inevitable part of our relationships but by speaking non-defensively, this positive posture will benefit your relationship. The following four strategies from relationship guru John Gottman will help you break patterns of negativity and take a positive approach to solving problems:

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