Every relationship deals with conflict at some point. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything negative going on beneath the surface. But, if conflict isn’t addressed appropriately, it can grow. 

If you find that you’re arguing with your partner frequently and things are continuing to escalate, it’s important to know how to manage conflict effectively. 

The fact that you’re interested in conflict management is a great first step. It shows that you want to do what it takes to communicate in healthy, respectful ways that will heal your relationship rather than tear it down. 

One of the best ways to manage relationship conflict is through mindfulness. While mindfulness techniques are often used to combat things like stress, anxiety, and even depression, they can also be used to keep you in the present when you’re going through a conflict, so you can respond appropriately and mindfully. 

Allowing Your Feelings to Be Felt

It can be tempting to push emotions down when you’re in the middle of a conflict. Or, maybe you push them down in an attempt to avoid conflict. Whatever the case, trying to trick yourself into thinking your feelings aren’t important or valid will only make things worse. 

If you’re in a disagreement with your partner, take stock of your feelings. Are you hurt? Embarrassed? Angry? Sit for a moment with these emotions and acknowledge them. When you recognize them for what they are, you’ll feel more in control of your reactions. 

Give Yourself Some Space

One of the biggest mistakes couples make during a conflict is saying things they don’t necessarily mean out of anger. 

photo of a couple who looks tenseTry to avoid lashing out at your partner when a conflict arises. Instead, take a few moments to breathe. Close your eyes, inhale and exhale deeply, and ground yourself to the present. Just a few minutes of mindfulness will make it easier for you to stay focused on the conflict at hand, rather than bringing up past hurts. 

It’s always better to return to a negative situation when you’re calm. If you need some time and space to bring yourself back to solid ground, let your partner know. 

Don’t Make Assumptions

Another common issue couples make when arguing is assuming what the other person is thinking or feeling. 

Challenge these assumptions by being open-minded to what your partner is saying. Conflicts shouldn’t always create arguments. Sometimes, they should foster healthy conversation. When you’re mindful about what your partner is saying, you can ask open-ended questions that will get you helpful answers, rather than assuming you already know what’s on their mind. 

The Ability to Forgive

Most people have heard the saying “It’s important to forgive and forget,” but it’s not always easy to do either of those things when you’re working through a serious conflict. 

But, holding on to any kind of anger that stems from your relationship will really end up hurting you, more than anyone else. We might never fully forget the things that bother us. But, it’s essential to truly be able to forgive yourself and your partner when conflicts arise. Mindfulness will make that easier by keeping you focused on the present. It will also help you move forward personally, and as a couple. 

You both have to agree to forward movement. When you do, it indicates that a particular conflict is done, and doesn’t need to be brought up again. Mindfulness practices can take time and effort. But, there’s a reason they are so popular and effective. 

Try to integrate things like deep breathing and meditation into your daily routine, and be mindful of how you argue with your partner. These simple additions can make a world of difference in managing relationship conflict. Reach out to learn more about couples therapy and how we can help you.