In my opinion, there are critical elements to solving a conflict with your partner that are guaranteed to produce a positive result.
Set guidelines for arguments that reflect both your values.
- In my relationship they are – no calling each other names, no swearing, no yelling, we don’t go to bed mad, we apologize if we hurt each other, we keep it to ourselves and we are always respectful of each other.
Make it your intention for a win-win result
- Make sure both of you get your issues heard and resolved
- This is not an “I win- you lose” discussion
- Remember – you love each other!
Go into the discussion with a Spirit of Curiosity & Listen
- Be curious about your partner’s perspective
- Ask questions. Not everyone is good at describing what is bothering them so you may need to probe further until you fully understand what they are trying to tell you.
- Probing questions could be: what do you mean by that, how did that affect you, why is that.
- Another good question to ask is “What did I do or say that made you feel that way” (the answer could be something that you actually did that hurt or offended them, or it could be how they interpreted what you did).
- Listen – do not defend – just listen
- Acknowledge what you heard
- Ask them – what would make this situation better for you or if this was handled differently – what would you like to have happened?
Put Closure to the Discussion
- Ensure that they have expressed everything they wanted to say
- Ensure they are satisfied with the outcome
- Both of you can declare where it broke down, how to prevent it in the future and any changes you both want to see going forward
- End with a hug
- Some people need time to process and will want some solo time
- If that is you – keep it short – do not ignore or shut out your partner
- Other people bounce back right away – make sure your partner is ready for you and don’t get hurt if they need a few minutes
Always Remember – you want to be in this relationship, you want harmony and you love your partner. This is not a competition – it is love!