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Conflict Resolution… Love is a Battlefield

Feb 10, 2023

Love is a battlefield. You can either fight with each other or alongside each other.
— K. McGee

Conflict in any relationship is inevitable, even in our romantic relationships. It’s a natural part of life, and there is no way to get around it. There will always be disagreements and differences of opinion because, as individuals, we all have different opinions, beliefs, and perspectives that will differ from others. Arguments can arise from just about anything and can range from a simple misunderstanding to something that can potentially ruin a relationship. Love can sometimes feel like a battlefield, but whatever the cause of an argument, instead of viewing conflict as a bad thing, see it as an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your partner.

Conflict itself isn’t damaging to relationships. It only becomes a problem when conflict is ignored, left unchecked, or approached from a negative standpoint. Choosing a resolution where both parties can effectively communicate in a healthy way allows couples the opportunity to deepen their understanding and appreciation for one another.

Create space in the relationship for ongoing open communication

Open communication is essential for any healthy relationship. It is crucial for both parties to feel safe to talk not only about the positives in the relationship but also about the challenges. Consider your feelings about being able to openly talk to your partner about important things in your life, such as your needs, fears, insecurities, dreams, aspirations, money, or relationship issues. If you can freely and comfortably have these conversations, you’re on the right track; keep up the good work. If you can’t express your feelings without fear of judgment or your partner getting overly upset and defensive, you may be in an unhealthy relationship.

Creating a safe space means being emotionally available for one another by being open, supportive, and non-judgmental, even in conflict. Remember that your partner is not your enemy but the person you chose to share your life with. Even in the throes of conflict, show grace towards one another.

This can be achieved by:

• Proactively checking in with one another (regular monitoring of what is going right or wrong in the relationship can help avoid unnecessary conflict.

• Offer to be a sounding board whenever your partner needs you

• Validate each other’s feelings and listen without judgment

• Regularly remind one another that you love each other

Maintain calmness and respect each other by being fully present (not in the past hurts; present-centered focus, breathe)

Respect is a two-way street. During any dispute, be careful not to cross the line by insulting or disrespecting your partner. When dealing with conflict, keep it clean and keep the focus on the problem at hand; don’t deviate. Be sure to set some ground rules and above all treat your partner with respect.

Ground rules may include:

• no cutting the other person off

• no yelling or raising of the voice

• no cussing

• no name-calling

• no violent behavior of any kind

• no gaslighting

• stay on topic (deal with the issue at hand)

• address only facts, no perceptions (leave your personal feelings at the door)

• agree to maintain accountability

• no shutting down/stonewalling (if things get too heated, allow for a cool-down period)

Remember that no matter the cause of the argument, you should never feel like you are being attacked or must tread lightly to prevent intensifying your partner’s anger. No one has the right to yell, curse, or otherwise make you feel uncomfortable or scared.

It’s OK to be passionate about your stance on any given topic, but never let your passion come off as disrespectful.

Remove blame from the conversation

Playing the blame game will never yield a positive outcome. Instead, it is more likely to fuel the fire, leaving parties feeling attacked and on the defense. A simple argument can quickly become a full-on war when blame gets thrown around. If you are the one on the receiving end of the conflict, acknowledge your partner’s feelings by saying key phrases like “I understand,” “you make a good point,” or “I didn’t see it that way; that makes sense” to help your partner see that you are trying to understand and deescalate the conflict. If you are the one with the issue, discuss the problem using “I” or “I feel” statements, noting that a need is not being met, and be ready to suggest possible solutions objectively.

Find the middle path, agreement on what changes can and will be made; compromise

All couples have disagreements; it’s unavoidable. But how they choose to handle their arguments helps determine the success of their relationship. Achieving a win-win solution requires compromise, and while not always easy, finding a balance between what both partners want and are comfortable with is very important in maintaining a healthy relationship. In those heated moments, couples should seek solutions that leave neither party feeling hurt, angry, or misunderstood. When we understand that the goal of conflict resolution is not for any one party to win the argument but instead to find a middle ground where both parties win, we are building an environment in which a relationship can thrive without boundaries.

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