When you enter an intimate relationship with another person, you’re automatically putting yourself in a vulnerable place. When the relationship is intimate, you’re giving another person deep access to your heart. This is not an easy experience. While it can be a very transformative and enriching journey, it will have its challenges. When there’s a challenge, two people can either run away from the conflict or grow as a result of it. When you’re dealing with interpersonal conflict management in intimate relationships, it’s best to consider the following tips.


  1. Remember that you two are on the same team.


When you’re intimate with another person, a partnership naturally develops. When you’ve made the choice to become a life partner with someone else, you’re on the same team. When you’re in the midst of an argument, it’s easy to assume you’re alone in it all. Instead, it’s so essential to remember that you are both on the same team. When you fight the person on your own team, you both lose. With this understanding, it’s best to work on finding a solution. At the core, you know you both want each other to win.


  1. Develop ground rules.


When you’re in the midst of an argument, it’s always important to remember the rules. Do your best to set ground rules before you are actually in an argument. Some examples of some ground rules might involve no cursing, no screaming and no hitting. If a person is angry enough to do one of the following, put a code word in place. When a person says the code word, this means that it’s time to cool off because they’re too angry to engage in a civilized dialogue surrounding the conflict. This is important because you never want to say something you don’t mean or something you can’t take back.


  1. Listen to understand.


When you’re able to sit down and really talk with one another, it’s always wise to consider the ability to truly listen to understand where the other person is coming from. This isn’t a time to focus on how you can prepare a strong argument or a rebuttal. When you both are entering the dialogue with a desire to understand where the other person is coming from, this changes the tone and overall energy behind the conflict.


  1. Consider a neutral party.


A time might come where you two can’t come to an agreement. When this happens, it really is wise to see a counselor. The counselor is a neutral third party who can help you two as you work to navigate through the issues. You need a neutral party because your mom or his business mentor will naturally have a bias. Plus, you don’t want to get family or friends involved in your personal business.

If you choose to love one another through the difficulties, this is one of the most enriching ways to develop your capacity to show and receive love. Realize that it’s okay to get help when you two are hitting a wall. At the Mount Vernon Counseling Center, we offer services to help those looking to break through challenges, develop healthy communication patterns and strengthen the love for self and others. Steffanie Kelshaw, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. Steffanie and the team at Mount Vernon work hard to provide you assistance. For more information, visit our website here.