Conflict is a normal and healthy part of every relationship. Well-managed conflict can promote growth, intimacy, and trust in a relationship. Unresolved conflict, poor communication, and unhealthy interactions can chip away at the foundation of a relationship and increase relationship dissatisfaction. Here are some guidelines for resolving conflict fairly in your relationship.
- Do not avoid it. Avoiding the issue will not make it go away. Pick a time and a place to discuss the problem. Leaving the issue unresolved only ensures that you will have to deal with it again.
- Talk to each other. If you have a problem, take it directly to your partner instead of talking to friends and family. Inviting well-meaning friends and family into your relationship problems can sometimes complicate matters. Alternatively, it is important to know when you need additional support. If the problem is overwhelming or not improving, ask for help.
- Be kind to each other. Name-calling, yelling, and belittling do not resolve an issue. These behaviors detract from the problem and will often escalate an argument and damage a relationship.
- Take a breather. If you are too upset to talk about an issue, it is OK to table it. Ask for a few minutes to gather your thoughts. Anger impacts our ability to effectively problem-solve and make good decisions. Just make sure to revisit the topic once you are calm.
- Respect your partner’s feelings. If your partner needs to take a breather, that’s OK. It is important that you give your partner space to calm down regardless of your desire to resolve an issue in the moment. Do not follow the partner if he or she needs to walk way – respect boundaries.
- Listen and clarify. Listen to each other’s point of view. Often, what we think a person is saying is not what the person is trying to communicate. Clarify that what you are hearing is what your partner is trying to say.
- It is not about winning. Do not get hung up on who is right or wrong. The goal of conflict resolution is not to be right; it is to successfully resolve a problem and move past the issue.
Whether you are looking for classes to make your relationship stronger or counseling services to speak with an expert, Marine Corps Community Services offers a variety of programs that can help no matter your relationship status.
The “Married and Loving It” class teaches couples skills to strengthen their relationship. You learn skills around communication, conflict resolution, and financial management. The “Within My Reach” class focuses on healthy communication, how to make a relationship last, and healthy decision-making. For more information about these classes or counseling services, contact your local Family Advocacy Program.
The “Real Relationships” class helps individuals identify the hallmarks of meaningful relationships and build skills to make them stronger. This class will encourage and promote healthy relationships for anyone looking to improve interpersonal skills. It will emphasize relationship enhancement, communication, conflict resolution, and setting appropriate boundaries. Contact your local Marine Corps Family Team Building for more information and additional classes to help you reach your personal goals