Conflict Can Help Your Relationship Thrive

Top Quote New book, Constructive Conflict, offers tips for a better relationship. End Quote
  • Rochester, NY (1888PressRelease) June 05, 2016 - Conflict in relationships is inevitable. If you haven't had a conflict yet, you haven't been paying attention. Communication increases conflict. If you haven't had a conflict yet, you haven't really been talking. Conflict is the beginning of a real relationship-not the end. If you haven't had a conflict yet, you haven't been real. Violence is not conflict. Violence is conflict avoidance. Conflict is like electricity; it can turn on a light, power change, or burn down the house. To enjoy the benefits of conflict, you need to know how to regulate it.

    So says Rochester, NY, therapist, Keith R. Wilson, the author of Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments, published by the Narrative Imperative Press.

    How can you regulate conflict so that you enjoy its benefits?

    Pay no attention to the alarm going off in your head
    Every argument boils down to one basic question: Are you there for me? If your mind begins sounding the alarm that your partner won't be, investigate why you feel this way before reacting.

    Pick the right time and place
    Not every time and place is perfect to deal with your issues. Pick the times and places that are most likely to lead to success.

    Start with the easy stuff
    If you start your conversation by attacking your partner, you will end up with as much tension as you began with, if not more.

    Stay relevant

    If you have a conflict with your partner, make sure it has something to do with your partner. Let go of the portion of things your partner can do nothing about.

    Know what you're asking
When you have questions for your partner, work out what you really want to learn, or the answers you get may fail to satisfy. Don't ask what you don't want to know.

    Learn something
    Don't assume you know what your partner wants; put your partner's message in your own words to see if you've got it right. 

    Acknowledge feelings 

    Check out what you are hearing from your partner's feelings-not just from words spoken. Feelings can communicate what's left unsaid.

    Call the four fouls of an unfair fight: Defamation, Defensiveness, Stonewalling, and Contempt
    Call the fouls you commit. Call your partner's fouls respectfully. Honor your partner's calls without question.

    Avoid Defamation
    Defamation is a false statement that disfigures the character of your partner. You always… is always false. You never… is never true.

    Avoid Defensiveness
    Don't deflect blame. Take responsibility for whatever you feel responsible for.

    Avoid Stonewalling
    Keep talking. If, for whatever reason, you can't talk at the time, say so.

    Avoid Contempt
    You know your partner's flaws and your partner knows yours. Call a truce. Learn to respect your differences.

    Don't be evil
    Resist the impulse to hurt your partner because your partner hurt you.

    Repair injuries
    The moment you get the wrong reaction from your partner, you know it. Stop and make a repair before hammering away at the point you were trying to make. Acknowledge and give credit to your partner for trying to fix things.

    Detect dreams
    Deadlock is an indication that there are dreams and values that have not been identified, acknowledged, or respected. When you know these important things about your loved one, you can't help but respect them.

    Avoid compromise when you can, because no one is happy with compromise. When you can't avoid it, however, compromise to save the relationship.

    Once you have worked something out and resolved the conflict, remember what you agreed on.


    To get better at dealing with conflict, you have to practice at being better with conflict. You can't just read about it. You have to try.

    Besides his busy psychotherapy practice, Keith R. Wilson writes two blogs: Madness 101 and At the Epiphany Cafe. He's published two novels: Intersections and Fate's Janitors: Mopping Up Madness at a Mental Health Clinic.

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