How to resolve conflict in your relationship

Fighting in and of itself is not the problem, couples who do not fight at all are more likely to end up divorced.

A resolution has designed this three steep resolution communication process to help couples communicate in a way that helps you feel loved, heard and understood.

This is a powerful communication process to help you and your partner resolve conflict.

The philosophy behind this process is that you allow each person to be heard and validated and you honour each other’s perspective before you move onto problem solving.


If you feel flooded (i.e., heart rate increased, shallow breathing, tension etc.) call a time out and set a time to come back to the discussion. Do not call a time out without setting a time to come back.

Speaker’s role:

Take turns at this role. Your role is to encourage your partner to understand how you feel and what you need.

Speaker Tips:

  • Use I statements (do not use You statements)
  • Describe your feelings (not what you think)
  • Describe a positive need (focus on what you want, not what you don’t want)

Sentence Structure:                    In this situation______I feel/felt _____ I need______

Listener’s role:

Take turns at this role. Your role is to acknowledge and validate the speaker without agreeing or apologising.

Listening Tips:

  • Postpone your agenda
  • Name and validate the speaker’s feelings
  • Acknowledge the speaker’s story

Sentence Structure:            Your feeling _______ you need_______ That makes sense because_____

Compromise and problem solve      

Identify each of your core needs in the issue and explain why it is core to you. This is where you persuade your partner to understand why this is so important to you.

You Your Partner
Core Needs Core Needs
Area of Flexibility Area of Flexibility
Options Options

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Heidi Smith is the principal psychologist at Aresolution. Heidi has over 12 years experience in counselling. Heidi is passionate about working with couples, families and individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In couple counselling Heidi has a particular interest in helping couples manage conflict and recover from affairs.