Some level of conflict is present in all relationships. In many cases, it is healthier to resolve it by addressing and embracing conflict than to ignore it in an attempt to maintain peace. If you feel that your relationship has been severely damaged by the ways problems have been managed, or due to some other unfortunate circumstance, you and your partner can implement some methods of mending what has been broken.
Practice Healthy Communication
Communicate with one another openly and honestly. Own your feelings by using "I" statements when discussing relationship issues. This allows you to relay how you're feeling without attacking your partner. Instead of saying, "You are an insensitive jerk. You never do anything nice for me!" try, "I feel disappointed that there is so little romance in our relationship." This will enable you to productively process your feelings and to work through the problem.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Assert your personal boundaries and respect your partner's, as well. Boundaries can help you and your partner understand what to expect from one another -- to differentiate between which actions and behaviors are acceptable and those that are not, according to a Johnson State College Counseling Services resource. They also preserve your sense of identity and demand respect. Maintaining these limits can help you and your partner prevent unnecessary conflict in the future.
Show Affection and Appreciation
Be affectionate, states the National Extension Relationship and Marriage Education Network, a resource for the development of healthy relationships. Even when relationship dynamics are tense, deliberate gestures of appreciation will remind your partner that you still care. It is during these times that affection might be particularly important. A compliment, an unexpected hug or a surprise outing can be a pleasant break from and reward for the tedious work of mending your relationship.
Enlist the services of a counselor or therapist. You and your partner can access these services individually or as a couple, depending on your comfort level and the nature of the issues. For example, if a source of conflict in your relationship is due to your residual insecurities developed during an abusive relationship in the past, you may opt to work through this trauma separately. If you and your partner are at odds due to different techniques of financial management, you may prefer to tackle the matter together.
- North Carolina State University: Connecting as a couple: Communication Skills for Healthy Relationships: Angela R. Wiley, Ph.D
- Johnson State University: Things You Should Know About Boundary Setting
- The National Extension Relationship and Marriage Education Network: Showing Affection and Respect to Strengthen Relationships
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