When it comes to relationships, no matter how much you try or how similar you and your partner actually are, it just isn’t sunshine and rainbows at all times.
And you know what? That’s okay, and guess what? It’s even normal! Relationships take a lot of work. There are good and bad days, just like in life. Plus, you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.
Healthy conflict can actually be a good thing. Let’s learn more about healthy conflict, what it is, and how to have it for better relationships.
What is Healthy Conflict?
Conflict is often viewed as negative. Healthy conflict is the opposite. Not all conflict has to be a bad thing. Each individual has their own opinions, ideas, beliefs, and values. You’re not always going to agree with whatever someone tells you, and they won’t believe or agree with everything that you may believe in either. Healthy conflict means that you’re willing and able to put aside your differences in opinion or belief and hear someone out. It allows you to see their point of view and their perspective. It may even make you change your perspective or figure out how to combine your ideas into a better one moving forward.
Use “I” Statements
Healthy conflict means not playing the blame game. This means thinking before you actually speak. Try using “I” statements instead of “You” statements. This simple change in words can help your partner see your side instead of feeling like they need to go into defense mode. See how much better “I feel like this” instead of “You make me feel like this” sounds? Be mindful of the tone and words you’re choosing to use, especially when a situation is heated. You don’t want to make matters worse by a misunderstanding.
Stick to the Present Moment
When you get into a disagreement, it can be easy to reference disagreements or things that made you angry in the past. Let the past stay in the past. There’s no reason to bring something back up, especially if you’re already resolved the issue. Try to stay focused on what’s happening right now instead of what happened previously. If you keep bringing up the past, there won’t be a future for either of you to grow towards.
Don’t Fight to Win
When you’re in a relationship, you’re in it together with your partner. One person shouldn’t constantly feel like their giving while the other is taking and vice versa. No matter what type of conversation you’re having, especially in conflict, neither of you should be fighting to win. There isn’t one clear winner or loser in a relationship. The goal should be working towards better understanding one another, seeing both points of view, and seeing how you can meet in the middle and find common ground again.
Seek Additional Support
If you’re struggling to find common ground in your relationship, you’re not alone. Healthy conflict takes time, patience, and practice. You and your partner may be interested in reaching out to a licensed and trained mental health professional for added support. A therapist is a great way to provide a safe and stable place for you and your partner to talk through any disagreements with the help of an outside third party. Therapy isn’t just for couples who are struggling either.
Working with a therapist doesn’t mean your relationship is over. It means that you and your partner are both willing to put in the time and work to better the existing relationship you share together. A therapist can help you implement healthy conflict in your relationship so that you can work towards it in and out of your sessions. Reach out to us today to set up a consultation for couples therapy.