- Discuss your differences of opinion only when both are in a good mood. Avoid discussing the topic of conflict if even one of you is in a terrible mood. Delay discussion till you are not clouded with overwhelming emotions.
- Avoid melodrama: Both of you should not make sweeping, melodramatic statements. You are not in the race for Oscar awards. Instead focus on solving the issue of disagreement.
- Don’t bring up other issues: Handle one issue at a time and don’t bring up multiple issues while handling a particular one. Stick to the topic under discussion and don’t bring up past grudges.
- You must not raise your voice: Getting worked up to a heated tone of voice will not help in solving the problem. Even if all is forgotten, a spouse will never forget that you talked to him or her in a loud tone that upset them.
- Don’t delay due to pride: Very often, pride stops us from arriving at an amicable solution. Give up your ego and grab the opportunity for a compromise as soon as one presents itself.
- Don’t publicize your disagreement: Do not ever discuss your disagreements with others like your parents or friends. Do not argue in public as it is damaging to your self-esteem. A couple should feel that they can safely trust to speak with each other without fear that a third-party will be involved in the intimate discussion.
- Don’t sleep over your discord: Even if you reach a deadlock in your discussion, try arriving at a stale mate or a temporary respite. Don’t go to sleep with the conflict weighing on your mind. Devote the next day to consolidating the compromise reached.
- Check for patterns that add to discord: There are many interaction patterns, which destroy a relationship. Check out for these and get rid of these patterns:
Patterns include starting discussions on the wrong foot, criticizing the other, making attacks on the other’s personality, feelings of mutual contempt, devaluing the other, counteracting the character of a partner, indulging in blame game etc. A contrasting pattern is stonewalling or distancing on one side and flooding or heightening criticism on the other. Another harmful interaction pattern is, doubting the motives of the partner.
- Discussing the issue before trying to solve it: While trying to settle a problem, try to have a discussion such that each partner gets the opportunity to put across his or her point of view. For this, define the problem and then together examine each one’s opinion of the problem. Make sure both have been heard and understood.
- Solving the issue: An issue discussed is half the problem solved. You can adopt the following steps: First set the agenda or identify the problem. Next brainstorm, even putting down ideas on paper. Converse the pros and cons of an achievable solution. Choose a strategy which you both are fine with. Agree to carry out the solution and fix a time to follow-up on the decision
BONUS TIP: Once you have made up or resolved the conflict, set some boundaries up so that it will not escalate to such a degree of threatening the relationship. Depending on the conflict issue, these could be anything that signals one or both of you are heading down a wrong path. An example might be that you do not like her boss calling her after hours for non-business related issues. A “border” crossing would be her answering his after hours call – after you both agreed that it was inappropriate.