How to use communication to solve relationship conflicts

Here are guidelines for communication that every couple can follow to resolve conflict and nurture a strong relationship.

How to use communication to solve relationship conflicts

Conflict is inevitable for people who are in a relationship. However, contrary to popular belief, conflict is not the root cause of the collapse of a relationship — the inability to communicate is. Here are guidelines for communication that every couple can follow to resolve conflict and nurture a strong relationship.

Don't assume

Sometimes when you and your partner have known each other for so long, you assume the other knows what you're thinking or feeling, and vice versa. The thing is, neither of you do — unless you tell each other. Talking about what you think or feel is the easiest way to resolve conflicts in a relationship, since it puts everything out in the open and both individuals on the same wavelength. This also gives your partner a chance to explain his or her side of the issue, potentially solving any problems at an earlier stage.

Stick to the point

When you talk about your own feelings on the issue, there's no point in dredging up your partner's past mistakes or making sweeping judgments. Stick to the current issue and be very specific. For example, saying, "I was hurt this morning when you did this or that…" is much better than saying, "You were a jerk this morning." The first addresses the real issue in a clear way, while the second is an attack on your partner's character.

Talk when you're calm

Talking when emotions run high is a recipe for disaster, since exaggerated feelings distort your thinking. When you're angry or frustrated, you could say things that would make a lasting negative impression on your partner. It's better to talk everything through when both of you are calm enough to ensure that you don't say harsh and untrue words that you may regret later.

Listen

Communication is a two-way street, involving listening and talking on both sides. One without the other is not really communication. Listening enables you to see your partner's perspective and gives way for more effective conflict resolution, while talking helps your partner understand your own thoughts and feelings.

Seek counselling if needed

There's no shame in asking for help when help is necessary. In fact, it's better to seek counselling before things get out of control. A professional therapist should be able to help you resolve pressing issues in your relationship that are difficult to solve between yourselves.

Conflict is not necessarily a negative part of relationships, but lack of communication can lead to burgeoning resentment, which could in turn result in animosity or separation. Following these tips for constructive communication will help resolve conflict without excessive and unnecessary hurt.

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