The Mating Grounds

6 Vital Skills to Resolve Conflict and Strengthen Your Marriage

How to Settle Disagreements in Your Marriage

Marriage is never a smooth ride. It is inevitable that at one point or another, couples will disagree and have conflicts.

As much as we would like to think that our marriages are perfect, disagreements are normal and healthy. They allow us to work together towards finding common ground, leading to a better bond between couples.

The question is, how do we deal with these conflicts? In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of conflict resolution in marriages and the six skills that can help you settle disagreements in a positive way.

The Common Nature of Conflict in Marriages

Marriage is a union of two diverse individuals with different personalities, backgrounds, and beliefs. It is only natural that they will have disagreements and differences in opinion.

These disagreements may range from seemingly trivial issues such as household chores to bigger issues like finances and values. Regardless of the topic, how couples approach their disagreements is key to a healthy relationship.

The Impact of Conflict Resolution on Marriages

Conflict resolution is vital in any marriage as it promotes clear communication, opens up respect for one another, and encourages the sharing of emotions. Without conflict resolution, disagreements can potentially spiral out of control and lead to relationship breakdowns.

Conversely, working together to find solutions to conflicts can help couples develop stronger bonds and thriving relationships.

The Six Skills That Will Help You Settle Disagreements in a Positive Way

Dr. John Gottman, a renowned psychologist, named six essential skills that couples can use to resolve conflicts in a positive way:

Soften Start-up,

Accept Influence,

Make Effective Repairs during a Conflict,

De-escalate, Psychological Soothing of Self, and Partner and

Compromise. Let’s take a closer look at each of these skills.

Soften Start-up

The skill of

Soften Start-up focuses on the conversation’s tone and building conversations that start with respect and understanding. It is important to understand that the start of any conversation sets the tone for the whole discussion.

The conversation’s beginning always matters and shapes the tone and outcome of that conversation. So, how can you make sure your start-up is soft?

Here are some tips:

– Use a calm tone of voice

– Avoid using harsh, offensive, or blaming words

– Express your feelings and needs without attacking your partner

– Use polite language like “please” and “thank you” to show respect

– Begin conversations with positive topics to set a amiable mood

Accept Influence


Accept Influence approach focuses on teamwork and empathy. You both listen to the other’s opinions without being selfish; only then can you work together towards a compromise.

Many times in a relationship, people tend to assume that their perspective is the correct one, which causes them to refuse to listen to their partner’s viewpoint. This can lead to further conflict and misunderstanding between couples.

So how do you accept your partner’s influence? Here are some tips:

– Listen carefully and respectfully to your partner’s opinion.

– Take their feelings and perspectives into account as you make decisions. – Show empathy and understanding towards your partner’s viewpoint.

– Support your partner’s need to have their voice heard.

Make Effective Repairs during a Conflict

This skill asks you to come up with alternative solutions and seeking compromise. Making effective repairs during conflicts helps to reduce the duration of the conflict and its intensity and prevents long-term damage to the relationship.

It is important to reconcile the issues at hand and resolve to work towards a better understanding. Here are some ways to make effective repairs during a conflict:

– Ask what would be helpful.

– Brainstorm alternative solutions. – Apologize when you make a mistake and admit your attitudes or feelings.

– Communicate your willingness to cooperate together to resolve conflict.


De-escalation means reducing tension and agreeing on peaceable strategies to work towards a compromise. Approaching tension-filled discussions in a calm and controlled manner is essential to avoid escalation.

When one person’s energy increases in a calm discussion, it can cause anxiety, stronger negative feelings, and hurtful language. How do you de-escalate conflicts?

Here are some tips:

– Take breaks when the discussion becomes heated

– Try to physically distance yourself from your partner when things become too intense. – Use calm communication to reassure your partner that you care and want to work towards a solution.

Psychological Soothing of Self and Partner

This skill is about self-soothing and calming oneself down when emotions begin to overwhelm. It is important to soothe and calm our emotions and our partner.

When we and our partners are stressed, it affects the way we relate with ourselves and one another. By soothing each other and showing support, we can create a sense of emotional safety and respect with our partners.

Here are some tips that can help you:

– Take deep breaths to calm yourself down

– Count slowly until you feel calmer

– Mindful meditate to focus your thoughts and let go of negative emotion energy.


Compromise forms the bedrock of any successful relationship. It is the willingness of both partners to work towards a solution that works for both.

It is the act of giving and taking, which helps to negotiate the conflict to a positive resolution. It’s essential to prioritize the problem’s resolution over who was right or wrong in the conflict.

Here are some tips that can help you:

– Be patient and establish realistic goals for both sides

– Differentiate between needs and wants. – Be open to new ideas that benefit both sides and invite anyone to give suggestions.


In conclusion, conflicts are inevitable in every marriage. However, conflict resolution is vital to a thriving relationship.

Employing the six skills mentioned by Dr. Gottman is essential for couples to settle disagreements positively. You and your partner can work together to explore various solutions to the problem and find the right one that works for both of you.

By doing this, you are laying a solid foundation for a healthy, lasting relationship. Softening Startup: Starting Conversations With Respect and Understanding

Conflict resolution is an essential aspect of any marriage.

However, how you approach your disagreements is just as important as resolving them. The tone of your conversation and the way you address the issues at hand can have a significant impact on the outcomes of any discussion.

One of the critical factors for successful conflict resolution is the ability to Soften Startup. What is Soften Startup?

Softening Startup refers to how you begin a conversation in a calm, respectful, and non-threatening manner. It is the way you initiate any discussion with your partner.

A Soft Startup approach creates an environment that fosters communication, mutual respect, and understanding. It is essential to cultivate nascent relationships at the beginning of any discussion, and Soften Startup helps us create that.

The approach helps avoid triggering anger, defensiveness, or volatile emotions that might exacerbate the conflict.

Importance of Soften Startup in Conflict Resolution

The starting point for resolving marital conflicts lies in the way we initiate conversations surrounding any conflict situation. Our tone, body language, and the words we use are critical to how our partner responds to us.

A gentle and non-threatening approach, usually referred to as Soften Startup, paves the way for a couple to listen and communicate effectively while addressing the conflict’s core issue. By starting a conversation calmly and respectfully, both partners feel heard and respected, which makes finding a solution to the issue at hand much more manageable.

Conversely, when we use hostile and blaming language, we risk damaging the relationship with our partner by creating more conflict, disrespect, and hurt. Soft Startup is essential to set the right tone for productive communication.

Example of Soft Startup

Here’s an example of how to implement Soften Startup by using “I” statements instead of “you” statements:

Suppose you want to talk to your partner about helping you more with household chores. A typical “you” statement is, “You are not helping around the house.” Instead, switch to “I” language, such as, “I feel overwhelmed with house chores and do not feel I can keep up, can we share these responsibilities?”

The second approach is respectful; it avoids blaming and puts your feelings into perspective.

Both partners feel acknowledged and appreciated, leading to a fruitful conversation on how both parties can share household responsibilities effectively.

Accept Influence: A Team Approach to Conflict Resolution

Being part of a team means that we must work together towards shared goals, and accepting influence is essential to achieving these goals. In the context of marriage, accepting influence means listening to your partner’s opinions and considering their perspectives before making decisions.

Accepting influence can help you develop respect for your partner, create a sense of teamwork and collaboration, and make your relationship stronger.

Importance of Accepting Influence in Conflict Resolution

Accepting influence is crucial in conflict resolution because it allows you to understand your partner’s point of view. By taking a collaborative approach, both partners feel heard, appreciated, respected, and understood.

It avoids selfishness and compromise on a solution that benefits both parties.

Fostering Teamwork Through Accepting Influence

Being in a relationship is about working together towards shared goals. It is essential to remember that you are not working against, but with your partner.

The “we” instead of “me” mentality emphasizes teamwork, which fosters collaboration and togetherness instead of individuality. To foster teamwork in conflict resolution, practice the following:

– Listen actively and respectfully to your partner.

– Accept that your partner’s needs and perspectives are as valid as your own. – Show empathy and understanding towards your partner’s opinions.

– Work together to find a solution that works for both of you.


In conclusion, Soften Startup and Accepting Influence are critical skills required for conflict resolution in any marriage. Soften Startup involves starting conversations calmly, respectfully, and non-threatening to foster communication, mutual respect, and understanding.

Accepting Influence provides a mindset of teamwork, a collaborative approach that allows achieving shared goals. Couples who practice these skills can resolve conflicts effectively while improving communication, mutual respect, and understanding in their relationship.

Making Effective Repairs During a Conflict

Conflicts can escalate quickly if they are not addressed in a timely and effective manner. Couples must be able to make effective repairs during a conflict to de-escalate the situation and find a resolution that works for both.

When there is tension or differences, finding alternative solutions could prevent escalation, making the relationship healthier.

Repairing Conflicts Through Finding Alternative Solutions

When conflicts arise, seeking alternative solutions is critical in finding common ground with your partner. The ability to compromise and finding middle ground can help avoid unnecessary tension, hurt, and negativity.

Couples need to work together to find tangible solutions regarding issues that affect both parties. Finding an alternative solution leads to a healthier relationship because it fosters collaboration, trust, and mutual respect.

Additionally, finding alternative solutions can help to redistribute responsibilities regarding specific issues in the marriage.

Example of Finding Alternative Solutions

Let’s take an example of conflicts around household chores. Suppose one partner feels that the other is not contributing enough in household duties.

The partner not being helpful may have an underlying emotional struggle that they are not communicating. Here, the first partner can take a proactive approach to find alternative solutions.

They can try communication by asking if there is a reason why their partner is not contributing as much as they are expected to. Through communication, they might identify other ways that their partner can help around the house, such as waking up an hour earlier or taking up tasks to balance their workload effectively.

This approach would bring harmony and goodwill between both parties.

De-escalate: Stepping Down from Conflict to Reconnect

De-escalation is vital in managing conflicts in any relationship. It requires taking active steps and responsibility to step back and prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.

In any conflict, both parties must understand and regulate their emotions to ensure that the conversation does not become too negative.

Importance of De-escalation Strategies in Conflict Resolution

De-escalation strategies are essential in managing conflicts in any relationship. These strategies help take control of the situation and prevent unresolved conflicts from going off the rails.

It is critical to slow things down and take a break, find a way to calm the situation, and manage strong emotions. Once the tension has been reduced, communication, mutual respect, and mutual understanding can be restored.

Examples of De-escalation Phrases

In any conversation, certain phrases can help to de-escalate the situation:

– “I feel” – This phrase expresses an emotion and can help to avoid blaming your partner for the conflict. – “I need to calm down” – This phrase gives you the time to take a break and regain your composure before responding then return when you are calm

– “Sorry” – Apologizing takes responsibility for having a share of responsibility in the conflict

– “I appreciate” – This phrase can show your partner that you understand them better, and you appreciate their viewpoint on the issue.

Using these phrases will promote a more positive environment when trying to resolve conflict in your marriage.


Conflict is inevitable in any marriage. However, utilizing soft start-ups, accepting influence, making effective repairs during a conflict, and de-escalation strategies are essential for resolving conflicts successfully.

Conflict should not be viewed as intentionally harmful but rather an opportunity to grow and further understand each other. By employing alternative solutions, finding compromise, using de-escalation strategies, and returning to a healthy dialogue, conflicts can be resolved effectively.

These strategies can help couples have a healthy and stronger marriage that thrives in mutual respect and trust.

Psychological Soothing of Self and Partner

Conflicts in marriage can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Being in a heated conversation when emotions are running high can often lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and unintended negative outcomes.

It is essential for partners to know how to self-soothe and manage their emotions effectively. Furthermore, understanding each other’s needs and encouraging each other to use self-soothing techniques can prevent conflict escalation.

Importance of Self-Soothing Strategies in Conflict Resolution

Self-soothing strategies are an essential aspect of conflict resolution. By regulating emotions, individuals can become more aware of the situation, making it easier to respond appropriately to their partners.

Good psychological soothing techniques help individuals find equilibrium and be present during conversations. They also help to prevent escalation and positively impact the couple’s relationship and overall well-being.

Encouraging Partner to Use Self-Soothing Strategies

As much as it is essential to regulate your own emotions, it is equally as important to encourage your partner to do so. Creating a harmonious environment is crucial in a relationship whereby both parties have each others best interests at heart.

By communicating your needs and taking a non-judgmental approach, your partner is more likely to be open. Here are some ways to encourage your partner to self-soothe:

– Show your support and willingness to help

– Communicate the importance of regulation and self-soothing techniques

– Share your self-soothing techniques with your partner

– Provide encouragement and reassurance that both parties are in this together

Compromise: A Staple in Marriage

Compromise is a critical aspect of conflict resolution in any relationship. It plays a huge role in maintaining a harmonious and healthy relationship.

Compromise is not just about giving in to the other party’s demands, but rather finding a solution that works for both parties.

Compromise is an integral part of successful conflict resolution.

Importance of

Compromise in Conflict Resolution

Compromise is essential for resolving marital conflicts. It creates an opportunity for discussing the issues at hand and coming up with solutions that work for both parties.

It also fosters collaboration, trust, and mutual respect, leading to a healthier relationship. An effective compromise ensures a healthy, long-term relationship because it creates a sense of mutual understanding and respect.


Compromise a Staple in Marriage

Compromise needs

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