How to Reduce Conflict in your Relationship

I’m Sure There Are Some Topics in Your Relationship That You Know There Are Always Fights About. Maybe It’s Money or Parenting. Maybe It is Work or in-laws. The Truth is That Relationships Are Fraught With Communication Conflicts. Some of It Can Be Predicted (Like With “Hot Topic” Above), While Some Can Feel Like It’s Coming Completely Out of the Blue.

Verbal Disagreements Can Happen When We Feel Attacked, Unheard, or Misunderstood. More Simply, Researchers Have Proposed That Communication Conflict Arises When One Partner’s Pursuit of His or Her Own Goals Interferes With the Other Partner’s Goals. These “Goals” Are Not Necessarily Concrete Things Such as “Doing the Laundry”, They Simply Refer to Desires, Wishes or Plans That May or May Not Be Conscious. Let’s Use the Following Example:

John and Sarah Are Expecting a Baby in the Coming Months. John Was Raised Catholic and Believes That Religion Plays a Major Role in a Child’s Life. Sarah Was Raised Unitarian and Was Taught Not to View Religion as a Particular Way of Raising Children. Today, John Expressed His Desire to Baptize His Child; Sarah Scoffs at John’s Sentiments and Immediately Dismisses Them as Ridiculous. “Not That the Kid Will Remember One Day – Who Cares?” He Joked. John—and Assaulted—began to Lash Out at Sarah for Her Disrespect for Him and Catholicism and Her “Inability to Raise a Christian Child”. They Fought for the Next 30 Minutes, After Which Both Went to Separate Rooms to Cool Down.

According to the Goal-based Approach to Relationship Conflict, We Need to Look at Each Partner’s Goals in Order to Understand What is Happening During This Conflict. John’s Goal is to Raise His Child in a Home That Teaches and Practices Religion – Specifically Catholicism. Part of This Goal is to Baptize Your Child. From This Conversation, We Can Interpret That Baptism Was Not Included in Sarah’s Views on Raising Her Child. But That’s All We Know About Their Goal. Perhaps Sarah is Completely in Line With John’s Goal With the Exception of Baptism? Or, Perhaps They Are Completely Wrong About Their Views on Religion and Parenting.

Because Relationships Are Made Up of Two People Who Have Their Own Individual Needs, Desires, and Goals – Unfortunately, Conflict is Inevitable. There Will Always Be Times When the Needs of One Will Compromise the Needs of the Other. Accepting This Fact is an Important First Step in Understanding and Moving Beyond Relationship Conflicts or Conflicts…

By Accepting That Conflicts in Our Relationships Will Always Raise Their Ugly Heads, We Gain a Kind of Power Over Them. Let’s Go Back to Sarah and John. Instead of Mocking Sarah About John’s Desire to Baptize Her Child, What if Sarah Asked Him Why Baptism Was So Important to John? Had He Done So, the Two Could Have Had a Meaningful and Calm Conversation About the Importance of Religion – Without Harsh or Offensive Language. Likewise, if John Had Not Immediately Attacked Sarah for Being Unfit to Raise a Religious Child, He Might Have Calmly Asked “How Do You Think About Raising Our Children Catholic?” by Engaging in Discussion, Both Sarah and John Will Leave the Conversation With a Deeper Understanding of Each Other’s Goals and Feelings Around Raising Their Child. Given the Goals of Both Partners, the Agreement is a Logical Next Step.

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How to Reduce conflict in your relationship

I bet there are certain topics in your relationship that you know will always cause a fight. Maybe it’s money or parenting. Maybe it’s chores or in-laws. The truth is, relationships are filled with communication conflict. Some of it can be anticipated (like with a “hot topic” above), while some of it can feel like it’s coming completely out of the blue.

Verbal disagreements can occur when we feel attacked, unheard, or misunderstood. More simply, researchers have proposed that communication conflict arises when one partner’s pursuit of his or her goals interferes with the other partner’s goals. These “goals” aren’t necessarily tangible things like “finish the laundry,” they merely refer to desires, wishes, or plans that may or may not be conscious. Let’s use the following example:

John and Sarah are expecting a baby in the coming months. John was raised Catholic and believes that religion plays a pivotal role in a child’s life. Sarah was raised Unitarian and was not taught to see religion as particularly important to children’s upbringings. Today, John brought up his desire for their baby to be baptized; Sarah scoffed at John’s feelings and immediately dismissed them as ridiculous. “It’s not like the baby will remember one day—who cares?” she mocked. John—feeling attacked—began lashing out at Sarah for her “inability to raise a Christian child” because of her disrespect for him and for Catholicism. They proceeded to fight for the next 30 minutes before both went to separate rooms to cool off.

According to the goal-oriented view of relationship conflict, we’ll need to look at each partner’s goals to understand what is happening during this fight. John’s goal is to raise his child in a home that teaches and upholds religion—particularly Catholicism. Part of that goal includes having his baby baptized. From this interaction, we can interpret that Sarah’s views of raising her child did not include baptism. But that’s all we know about her goal. Perhaps Sarah is completely aligned with John’s goal up with the exception of the baptism? Or, perhaps they are entirely mis-aligned on their ideas of religion and parenting.

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Because relationships are made up of two individuals with their own individual needs, desires, and goals—conflict is, unfortunately, inevitable. There will always be times where the needs of one compromises the needs of the other. Accepting that fact to be true is an important first step to understanding and getting ahead of relationship conflict or fights…

By accepting that fights are always going to rear their ugly head in our relationships, we gain a sort of power over them. Let’s go back to Sarah and John. Instead of Sarah making a joke about John’s desire for their baby to be baptized, what might have happened if Sarah asked him why baptism is so important to John? Had she done so, the two could have engaged in meaningful and calm conversation about the importance of religion—with no harsh or disrespectful language. Similarly, had John not immediately attacked Sarah for being unfit to raise a religious child, perhaps he could have calmly asked “what are your views on raising our child Catholic?” By engaging in a discussion, both Sarah and John would have likely left the conversation having a much deeper sense of each other’s goals and feelings surrounding the raising of their child. With both partners’ goals in mind, compromise is a logical next step.

How to reduce conflict in your relationship

While We Will Always Have Disagreements, We Have a Choice in How to Navigate Them. Sometimes It Can Feel Easier and Less Vulnerable to Attack Your Partner, Make Fun of Them, or Accuse Them of Mistaking Their Beliefs. Doing So Takes Us Further Away From Resolving the Conflict. And That Fighting Conflict Can Spill Over Into Other Areas of the Relationship.

For Couples Who Are Unhappy in Their Relationships, It Becomes Even More Important to Try to Move Beyond Conflict, or to Figure Out Ways to Reduce Conflict—because Unhappy Couples Are More Likely Than Happy Couples to Use a Negative Voice During a Period. 10 Times More Likely Than Disagreement, Engaging in the Same Patterns Every Time an Argument Surfaces, and Being in Prolonged Conflict. So, How Do You Reduce Conflict?

Makes Conflict Worse – things NOT to do

  • Take the opportunity to bring up other problems in the relationship
  • Only blame your partner for the problem
  • Listen to your partner just so you can criticize him/her
  • Ask hostile and closed-ended questions
  • Assume you know what your partner is thinking and feeling about the issue
  • Repeat your own positions and opinions
  • Follow your partner’s complaint with your own complaint
  • Try to prove that your partner is wrong
  • Tell your partner what he/she needs to do in order to solve the problem
  • Make ultimatums
  • Raise issues with a hostile tone
  • Reject your partner’s view as wrong
  • Interrupt your partner
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Reduces or Avoids Conflict – things TO DO

  • 💖Stay focused on the problem at hand
  • 💖Recognize how you are contributing to the conflict
  • 💖Listen to your partner with genuine interest; what is he/she saying?
  • 💖Ask open-ended questions
  • 💖Ask about his/her thoughts and feelings about the issue
  • 💖Summarize what your partner says to make sure you understand
  • 💖Follow your partner’s complaint with a request for more information
  • 💖Work towards agreement/compromise
  • 💖Offer constructive suggestions about what you can do to solve the problem
  • 💖Remain flexible during the problem-solving phase
  • 💖Raise issues in a neutral and gentle way
  • 💖Accept your partner’s views as important
  • 💖Let your partner finish her/his thoughts


What are the 5 conflict resolution strategies?

Five Conflict Resolution Strategies
Avoiding. Someone who uses a strategy of “avoiding” mostly tries to ignore And sidestep the conflict, hoping it will resolve itself or dissipate.

What are 7 tips of resolving conflict?

There are some practical strategies you can use to handle conflict in the workplace.
Talk to the other person.
Focus on behavior and events, not personality. ,
listen carefully
Identify points of agreement and disagreement. ,
Prioritize areas of struggle.
Develop a plan to work on each conflict.

What are 4 strategies for resolving conflict?

These 4 steps To resolve Conflict: CARE
1. Communicate. Open communication is key in a dispute.
2. Actively Listen. Listen to what the other person has to say, without interrupting.
3. Review Options. Talk over the options, looking for 4. solutions that benefit everyone.
End with a Win-Win Solution.

What is healthy conflict in a relationship?

What is healthy conflict in a relationship?
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In healthy conflict, couples are gentle with each other. They stick to “I” statements versus “you” statements. They communicate how they feel and what they need without blaming their partner.

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