Conflict for many is uncomfortable, especially conflict with our significant other, family, and friends. However, studies have shown that not only is conflict normal in relationships, it should be expected! Conflict is so common and expected in relationships that there are rules and information about how to fight and how to fight fairly.
Take a Time Out. When we are angry or hurt it is more likely that we are not going to have a rational conversation to any positive result. Take some time to walk away, calm down, and gather your thoughts; even write them down if that’s your style. This way you can really think of what you want to say.
Stay in the Present. Many times in arguments issues are brought up from the past. Try to focus on the issue at hand and don’t bring up something that happened months or years ago to add fuel to disagreement. Also if there are multiple issues, try to talk about things one at a time. Stockpiling issues is not likely to have any positive resolution; bring up issues as they arrive rather than all at one time.
Use “I messages”. One of the oldest techniques when communicating during conflict is the “I message”. Using an “I message” can express your feelings in a more positive manner than what is typically used during an argument. “I messages” follow a general statement outline “I” “feel” “when” or “because.” Examples might be “I feel overwhelmed because I spend and then I come home to so many chores” or “I feel disappointed because I wasn’t included in the decision making process” or even “I feel angry when I have to wait when you were running late and didn’t let me know.”
Try to see Different Perspectives. Try to see the issue or problem through your partner’s eyes, knowing too that many problems may have more than one solution or way of being looked at. Respect your partner’s perspective and ideas.
Be Prepared to Compromise. Not every argument needs a winner or loser; know that in the end one or both of you may have to compromise. Be open to what might work to resolve the problem and if not completely resolved, revisit the issue at another time.
Even though many people try to avoid conflict, conflict in relationships is important for establishing good communication between partners by learning how to listen, talk, negotiate, and resolve arguments. Happy fighting!