9 Simple Ways to Reduce Conflict in Relationships
‘Numerous studies have reported that couples who are unable to resolve daily conflicts have a higher likelihood of divorcing. Meanwhile, a study found over a period of 14 years that couples who negotiate conflicts constructively are the most satisfied and have the least chance of divorcing’
It’s naive to assume once we find that special someone we will live ‘happily ever after’ without investing time to learn relationship skills. Here’s a few strategies to turn relationship challenges into an opportunity for greater understanding and connection…
1. Ensure you have regular fun and quality time together to build up your karmic bank account. Happy couples have 5 positive interactions for every negative one, whereas couples who divorce have just 0.8 positive interactions for every negative one so make it a priority to have fun by scheduling a date night once a month to reconnect in positive ways.
2. Invest time, effort and energy in growing your relating skills by attending a relationship workshop, online program or couples retreat each year. The average divorce costs between $15,000-$30,000 in legal proceedings, more than ten times what the average relationship seminar or retreat costs.
3. Accept navigating conflict is part of life as conflict is inevitable in human interactions. Support your intimate relationship to mature by making a time to discuss and agree to implement strategies to manage conflict responsibly at a time when you both feel calm.
4. Take time out when triggered so you don’t say things you’ll later regret. Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal when you feel upset to express them in a safe way so you can examine them privately.
5. Access support to regularly review your choices and actions by attending a monthly sharing circle within your local community. Unlike well meaning friends who may try to support you by scapegoating your partner instead of encouraging you to examine your own actions, an intentional sharing circle will encourage you to transcend ‘karma drama’ by being personally accountable. Check out The Mankind Project for men’s circles and Red Tent online directories for women’s circles.
6. Express intense emotion when it surfaces by moving it out of your body through physical exercise such as going for a run, punching a boxing bag or through active meditations like dancing to music or shaking and releasing on sound to avoid emotionally charged arguments escalating conflict.
7. Stay connected with your feelings. Our feelings hold the key to identifying our needs. Use ‘I statements’ to state your feelings based on your needs, such as “I’m feeling tired so I really need to take a nap. Would you watch the kids for an hour?” Arguments ensue when we feel afraid our needs won’t be met.
8. Examine the negative expectations you have about relationships. Write them down and then create affirmations to include as part of your morning practice to create a positive relationship mindset.
9. Discover which times are more common for conflict in relationships by understanding the natural cycles and how they impact our psyche, energy levels, libido and relationship patterns.
To understand why we fight and more practical strategies to transform conflict into connection, check out my NEW! Conscious Relationships program for singles, couples, hetero and LGBTQ+ here.