It is important to accept that even couples in happy and healthy unions go through conflict sometimes. The only difference between them and unhappy partners is in how well they manage the situation and how strongly they’ve set a foundation of respect and friendship together.

To successfully pull through, both of you need to prepare as a couple and learn how to handle it the healthy way. Here are a few key suggestions in doing so:

1. Keep the respect

As mentioned, this is a key factor in how well you can settle the dust. If as two individuals, you look at one another with admiration, friendship, and understanding, it will be easier to have open communication and healthy conversations to recognize where the other is coming from and find a compromise.

Studies show that partners lacking in this skill set are unhappy, may be toxic for one another, and end up arguing about issues that are not necessarily important at the given time.

2. Express your practical and emotional needs assertively

In an effort to “maintain the peace” and “not rock the boat”, many partners stay clear of communicating what their needs and wants are in their relationship. This often leads to the partner’s needs going unrecognized and unfulfilled. The partner then bottles up these feelings of resentment, leading to larger conflicts (the very thing they were trying to avoid to begin with).

Being able to communicate your relationship needs in a healthy way can invite conversation about the issues, reducing conflict. Drs. John and Julie Gottman state that statements like: “I feel…, because…., I need….” is a helpful approach as long as it is not filled with criticism, contempt or defensiveness.

3. Differentiate the types of issues

According to research, couples that only pay attention to issues that are in need of immediate resolution have happier and healthier relationships. Focus only on problems that need to be fixed right away instead of matters that are insignificant in the present and can be set aside.

4. Seek help early

Some couples like to wait until the conflict is too big to handle. Seeking professional help from a couples counselor may ease your situation and offer much more benefits. Through guided sessions, both of you may realize better ways to communicate, effective ways to resolve conflict, strengthen your connection, restore your emotional intimacy, and basically help you feel closer to one another.

Our trained marriage counsellors are more than happy to help you build stronger, long-lasting relationships centered on healthy coping strategies that you can use not only today, but in the long run as well. If you are struggling with relationship conflict and are located in Edmonton, therapists at ReDiscover Psychological Services are here to help, why not reach out and book a free 15-minute consult to see if our couples counsellors could be a good match.