The Art of Fighting: Strategies for Healthy Conflict Resolution in Couples Relationships

by | Last updated May 14, 2024

Fighting is a natural part of any relationship, but it’s often a source of stress and tension for couples. Whether it’s a minor disagreement or a full-blown argument, fighting can take a toll on both partners and damage the relationship. However, it’s important to remember that relationship conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be an opportunity for growth and understanding if approached in a healthy way, and improving relationship conflict resolution strategies can lead to opportunities for deeper connection and understanding between partners in the relationship.

In this article, we’ll explore the common triggers for fighting in couples relationships and the negative effects it can have. We’ll also provide tips for improving your fighting skills, both on your own and in therapy, so that you can resolve conflict in a healthy and productive way. Whether you’re dealing with ongoing disagreements or just want to improve your communication skills, this article will provide you with the tools you need to build a stronger, healthier relationship. So let’s dive in and learn how to fight safe and fair!

Why do couples fight?

Fighting can be triggered by a number of factors, including personality differences, values, and goals, as well as external stressors such as financial or work-related issues. Furthermore, unresolved issues from the past can add to ongoing disagreements and tension.

Disagreements in communication style and conflict resolution skills are another common source of conflict. For example, one partner may be more confrontational than the other, or one partner may prefer to discuss every issue while the other prefers to process on their own. These distinctions can make it difficult to resolve disagreements in a constructive manner, resulting in arguments and resentment.

It’s critical to understand the underlying causes of your fights so you can work on resolving them. Identifying and addressing underlying issues from the past, as well as learning effective communication and conflict resolution techniques, may be required. In the following section, we’ll look at the negative effects of fighting and why it’s so important to practice.

The negative effects of fighting in relationships

Fighting can have a significant emotional and physical impact on both partners. Ongoing tension and conflict can cause anxiety, depression, and stress, as well as physical health problems like headaches, back pain, and other stress-related ailments.

Furthermore, fighting can be detrimental to the relationship. Disagreements that are not resolved in a healthy manner can lead to feelings of disconnection and resentment in the relationship, eroding the emotional bond between partners. Fighting can have a negative impact on children and others, causing additional stress and tension in the family or social network.

How to improve relationship conflict resolution skills on your own

Improving your relationship conflict resolution skills on your own can be difficult, but it is doable with the right approach. Developing effective communication and conflict resolution techniques is a critical component of improving your fighting skills. Here are some pointers to help you improve your fighting skills on your own.

Practice active listening

Giving your full attention to your partner and truly understanding their point of view before responding is what active listening entails. This includes avoiding distractions like phones and television, as well as asking clarifying questions.

Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and assertively

It’s essential to express yourself clearly and assertively while remaining sensitive to your partner’s feelings. This includes avoiding passive-aggressive or overly aggressive behavior and expressing yourself using “I” statements.

Avoid blame and criticism

Blaming or criticizing your partner can put them on the defensive and prevent communication. Instead, concentrate on the problem at hand and express your emotions and needs in a nonjudgmental way.

Build emotional intelligence

Understanding your own emotions and those of others, as well as being able to regulate your emotions in a healthy manner, constitute emotional intelligence. By developing emotional intelligence, you can better understand your conflict triggers and patterns and learn to regulate your emotions in order to remain calm and rational during disagreements. Tools like the emotions wheel chart can be incredibly helpful for identifying and accurately labeling your feelings, leading to better communication during conflict.

Understand your triggers and patterns in relationship conflict

Understanding your own conflict triggers and patterns allows you to recognize when you’re becoming defensive or reactive and take steps to regulate your emotions and respond in a healthy way.

Improving your fighting skills on your own can be an excellent way to strengthen your relationship with your partner. Working with a trained therapist, on the other hand, can be a great option if you’re struggling to make progress or need additional support. In the following section, we’ll look at how therapy can help improve fighting skills in couples relationships.

Schedule regular relationship check-ins

Relationship check-ins offer a valuable opportunity to proactively address conflict and strengthen communication within your relationship. By regularly setting aside time for open discussions, you can identify brewing issues before they worsen. This allows for calm resolution in a dedicated setting, instead of letting resentments fester. Check-ins provide a safe space to express concerns, work through disagreements, and gain a deeper understanding of your partner’s perspective. If you’re interested in incorporating a structured approach, exploring some couples check-in questions can be a great place to start.

How to improve relationship conflict resolution skills in therapy

Identify and address underlying issues

In therapy, you can work with a trained therapist to identify underlying issues that may be contributing to ongoing disagreements. These issues may include past traumas, unhealthy patterns in relationships, or unmet emotional needs.

Learn healthy communication and relationship conflict resolution strategies

A therapist can teach you and your partner conflict resolution techniques such as active listening, assertive communication, and compromise. These strategies can assist you in resolving conflicts in a more productive and positive way.

Build self-awareness and mindfulness

Therapy can also help you develop self-awareness and mindfulness, which can help you better understand your own emotions and conflict triggers. This can help you regulate your emotions and respond to disagreements in a healthier way.

Provide a safe and non-judgmental space

A therapist can provide a safe, nonjudgmental environment in which to work out disagreements without fear of judgment or negative consequences. This is especially beneficial for couples who feel stuck or unable to progress on their own.

Strengthen the emotional bond between partners

Couples can strengthen their emotional bond and build a more fulfilling relationship by working together to improve communication and conflict resolution skills.

Couples who are struggling to resolve ongoing disagreements or who want to improve their communication and conflict resolution skills may benefit from therapy. If you want to work with a therapist, find one who specializes in couples therapy and has helped couples improve their fighting skills.

Which therapy approaches are most effective to improve conflict resolution in relationships?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotionally Focused Therapy is an evidence-based therapy aimed at strengthening the emotional bond between partners. EFT aims to assist couples in identifying and changing negative patterns of interaction, while also encouraging greater emotional engagement and responsiveness.

The Gottman Method

The Gottman Method is a research-based approach to couples therapy that focuses on increasing intimacy, improving communication, and strengthening relationships. The method is based on Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s research, which identified specific behaviors associated with relationship success.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of talk therapy that aims to identify and change negative thought and behavior patterns. CBT can be used in couples therapy to help partners recognize and change negative communication and conflict resolution patterns.

Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT)

IBCT is a type of therapy that combines elements of CBT, mindfulness, and emotion-focused therapy to assist couples in improving their communication and conflict resolution abilities. The therapy emphasizes acceptance and compassion, with the goal of assisting partners in developing greater emotional connection and intimacy.

It’s important to remember that every couple is different, and what works for one may not work for another. A skilled therapist will collaborate with you and your partner to determine the best approach to healthy conflict resolution for your unique needs and objectives.

Final thoughts on conflict resolution in relationships

Fighting in relationships is a natural part of any relationship, but it does not have to be destructive. You can improve your relationship fighting skills and build a stronger, healthier connection by understanding the root causes of your disagreements and learning healthy communication and conflict resolution strategies. Whether you work on your own or in therapy, it’s critical to take action and, if necessary, seek help. You can learn to fight in your relationship fairly and have a more fulfilling connection with your partner with a little effort and practice. It’s never too early (or too late) to seek help from a professional therapist to improve relationship conflict resolution skills.

Interested in therapy?

Work with world-class therapists at Holding Hope. Take the first step today by filling out the form below, or click the link to self-schedule a free consultation with Mara, the founder of Holding Hope.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Why are you reaching out?
Book a consultation online

Click to self-schedule a free 20-minute call.

(917) 740-7199

The latest from our blog

How to Reconnect With Your Partner After an Argument

How to Reconnect With Your Partner After an Argument

Arguments happen in every relationship, and, yes, sometimes it can be healthy to argue in a relationships. Whether it's a minor disagreement that quickly escalates or a major conflict that leaves you feeling disconnected, knowing how to reconnect with your partner...

Dealing with Post Argument Anxiety and Overthinking After Fights

Dealing with Post Argument Anxiety and Overthinking After Fights

What is Post-Argument Anxiety? Post-argument anxiety is the persistent worrying, rumination, and emotional distress that can occur in the wake of a relationship conflict. It's the nagging feeling that something is "off" or unresolved, even after the argument has...