No two people can agree on everything, but disagreements or arguments in your relationship don’t have to end with one or both of you angry or in tears. Here are some suggestions to make the bumps in your relationship a little less difficult and more satisfying.

Create a code word – Very rarely when communication goes awry do both partners become angry at the exact same time. So create a code word to use when the conversation starts to get out of hand. For example, if voices raise and the conversation starts escalating in a negative direction, the less angry partner can say “timeout” (or another calming word or phrase that you both choose together) to stop the conversation in its tracks. One partner can say this word and remind the other that it’s time to pull the plug on the conversation, cool off and return to the topic at a later time when the conversation can be more productive. This way, it’s much less likely to turn into a full-blown argument.

You’re not a mind reader – And neither is your partner. Unless you express your needs, it’s difficult for someone else to know what they are. When you expect your partner to know how you’re feeling during a fight and what to do about it, you could be setting yourself up for failure- simply because you probably won’t get the response you were hoping for.

Don’t procrastinate – Many times when attempting to communicate turns into a fight, the actual issue never gets discussed. Perhaps one of you apologizes, the issue fades away and it’s never resolved. But the same issue will come up again and again if it’s never confronted. How do you typically avoid difficult conversations? Maybe you change the subject or walk away from conversations you don’t want to have; but the problem won’t go away on it’s own. How do you and your partner blow off discussing sticky issues? Have a conversation about this and together, agree to a strategy to get past it.

Two brains are better than one – If it usually feels like you’re on separate sides when trying to come up with a solution to a problem, it’s time to start playing on the same team again. Brainstorm solutions together without judging or analyzing them. Once you have a list of all your options, you can then discuss each potential option and make a decision together. Most importantly, talk through each solution until you get to a win-win.

Nothing is more toxic than blame – Be aware of yourself and the way you can change communication between you and your partner. Look at yourself objectively, remove all of the blame and then see if there are any things you typically do that don’t help solve a problem or discuss an issue. I offer more information on the crucial topic of reducing blame in my book Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential.

Focus on what’s important – Forget the small stuff; and ask yourself, if this issue is going to be important in a week? A month? Or a year? Pick your battles carefully and discuss the things that are truly important to both of you for the long run.

Most of all, don’t lose sight of why you’re bothering to fight in the first place. If it’s worth the energy to make a change in your relationship or voice your opinion, it means you’re invested in finding a resolution to the issue. Through ups and downs, it’s important to always keep in mind the parts of your relationship that you are fighting for. Working together to resolve issues before a fight gets out of hand can feel wonderful and be a delightful reminder of why the two of you make a great pair!

6 Responses to “For a Stronger Relationship, Resolve Your Conflicts”

  • Franklin Bluth:

    me and my boyfriend 3 several weeks in to the relationship so we argue a minimum of 3 occasions per week, only small arguements nad have really bad arguements a minimum of like when a week.

  • Franklin Bluth:

    What’s meant by relationship?

  • Matthew:

    Have you forgotten what brought you together? If yes, why? If the thing that brought you together doesnt exist anymore can you still have a strong relationship with that person if there is love and physical compatibility?

  • Goe122:

    i have been with my partner for over 5 years now and we have a beautiful little girl together but we have been arguing loads lately and it all seemed to start when a next door neighbour of his brothers come to me to tell me his brothers girlfriend had been confiding in her and she revealed that my partner received some sexual contact from her. i was so confused coz i wouldn’t ever have thought this of him and i trusted him completely but some things didn’t add up the particular times she knew when me and him had fallen out and everything seemed strange at the time so i doubted him, he denis everything and refuses to talk about it in a way i would see as a resolve so we just don’t talk until it gets too weird not to, and then ignore old problems and try and move on but deep inside me i have this horrible FEELING also his brother had pulled me aside during an argument with my partner and said he has to tell me its all true and i was quickly ushered away by their mum and this incident has been ignored by all as well i am expected to shut up and put up and i have said i believe my partner but i know his brothers girlfriend had told her neighbour but why i don’t know i need closure or answers what can i do? HELP i would like to add i love my partner so much but this is causing so much difficulty between us i want ideas on how as a couple we get over malicious rumours

  • tjpimpin:

    To Whomever offers a guiding hand:
    I began dating what was to become the love of my life on May 7th, 2008. So far we’ve been going strong through college (I’m a freshman in College and she’s a Senior in High School). Our relationship has lasted a total of 19months this far, and we’ve gone through so many fights and emotions that I’ve come to the realization that love truly is not for fools. Love is full of pain, and emotion, and is quite a burden. Love is for the truest of the wise. But ultimately, I believe that all of the sacrifice I am making is worth it to be with this person who so well understands me, cares about me, and whom is beautiful and Perfect to me in every way.
    This girl, M, and I are in a long distance relationship and it’s hard, and the future is not visible.
    I go to a college in Florida (the U) and she’s back at home in Ohio, We’re truly hoping that next year she chooses the U (she can easily go to better places), but, lately, our friends are complaining that we put too much pressure on one another at inconvenient times:
    For example: I’m sitting in the dining hall, just me and a group of girls – we are purely friends to talk about school matters and the like – and M calls and understands that I’m busy eating, but, perhaps out of suspected jealousy, asks me whom I’m with. Of course I respond whom I’m with, but then she will become this monster in a sense that she’s upset I can’t give her my attention at that moment in time and that I have to LEAVE the building in order to calm her down. It seems odd that she feels that way if she trusts me and loves me.
    Yet, just today she unexpectedly went hanging out with her best guy friend, and afterwards, he came over to finish talking with her and watch blades of glory, Now I’m the one who is jealous. This guy is my best friend as well, so I completely trust the two, but in time M reveals that she had been replacing me with him, unintentionally, because they both had a sort of gap in their lives: M didn’t have me, Guy Best friend never had a girlfriend. I can understand that. But after I allowed her to go to a formal dance with guy best friend, pictures of one another on each others backs giving piggyback rides truly upset me with jealousy that they’re so close while i’m here. I felt like I was replaced and I communicated with her about this and she reconfirmed how much she loved me and that nothing was going on between the two. The Guy Best friend is somewhat attractive, I can admit, but I was reconfirmed that M cared for me too much to give that up. Today, however, when he went back to her house for the half an hour, I guess I freaked because M forgot to mention this additional hanging out when I was waiting to skype with her and didn’t mention exactly what time she should be back. What ultimately ended up happening was me being over jealous and not being satisfied with her nonresponsive attitude towards my feelings.
    I guess what Im getting at is that, a long distance love should not hinder your relationships locally, yet I feel M and my jealousy are unavoidable. Is mine more justified if she’s spending one on one time with the guy best friend? But also, is her jealousy more justified since she doesn’t know these girls I’m friends with? They really are kind friends and our group is not the party type–more of the find fun in spending time together.
    Also, I feel we end up pushing each other away by communicating these feelings, but I don’t want to be seen like her mother. Yet, I;m worried so I can’t help it. I also don’t want to react negatively in jealousy to the point that she will no longer tell me what she’s doing.
    I’m coming home in just a week and I know everything will be resolved, but I don’t want it to be a temporary resolution.
    I want to make this a change in our character or agenda that would resolve the conflict and make the test of time pass more smoothly with less demands and jealousy, and better understanding and trust.
    How can I improve this relationship and make her feel like I love her even though I can’t communicate with her at that instant? How do I choose the right words to say, what ground rules should there be? Should we both just be ignorant of what the other is doing? Is it worth waiting when we’re so young and the future is unclear? What do we do of the fear that one of us may cheat, emotionally, with a friend or another? I truly love this girl, but is there even a possibility of that changing unless we begin fighting with one another constantly?
    Please offer your advice from experience or observation,

    I truly appreciate this,
    Thank you
    Sorry for the lengthy question :(

    I’d really appreciate it though if you have 5 minutes,,,,

  • Michael:

    what do you think of long distance relationships?

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