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It happens to every couple. Whether you have been dating your partner for a few years or married for fifty, it is normal for every relationship to have moments of disconnect. In fact, it is in how couples fight and work toward repair that determines a successful relationship. All relationships involve different dynamics that shift and evolve across circumstances and time. Naturally, they require consistent consideration, effort and teamwork to remain healthy and sustainable.
So, what distinguishes a healthy relationship? Healthy couples do five key things differently when they fight:
Our reality is that we are all human and make mistakes, so conflict is part of every relationship as a result. We have arguments, disappointments, hurt feelings and misunderstandings. It is normal to experience anger, disappointment and frustration toward your partner during conflict. It is how you cope with such intensity to prevent resentment and work toward repair that establishes a solid foundation for the relationship to thrive. Instead of giving the silent treatment when upset, try to communicate your experience to your partner. When you notice hurt feelings, become curious about which part(s) of you were activated to understand how your behavior and emotions are influenced. Instead of projecting or dismissing, make time to hear your partner to understand both of your perspectives. Communicating effectively requires listening more openly and responding constructively through acknowledgement, validation and understanding. Above all, frame both of your mindsets to view conflict as you both against the problem and not each of you against the other. Viewing conflict through this lens is an opportunity toward resolutions as a team. When these practices are woven together, each partner is heard and seen. This creates more of a safe space within which you can both nourish more connection and intimacy in your relationship, even in the face of conflict.