On the heels of last week’s relationship advice ezine – where I blew the doors off of 3 relationship myths – the myth that healthy couples never fight seems to be a very difficult one to get people to stop believing.  As I’ve mentioned to you guys many times before, healthy happy couples do fight – but it is the way they fight that makes all the difference in the world. Below are 3 conflict resolution skills that will allow you to maintain love and intimacy in your relationship – regardless of any fights you and your partner might have.

Conflict Resolution Skill #1: Keep this thought in mind as you and your partner are fighting over anything: Is it more important to be right about an issue you and your partner are dis-agreeing over? Or is it more important that the relationship remain intact? Many times when we fight with our significant other, we fight as if we are fighting for our very lives; and we feel as if we have to “win” our fight at all costs! Think about this for a moment:Is it worth it to “win the battle only to lose the war”? So the next time you find yourself about to enter the ring for a knock-down, drag out fight with your partner, stop and ask your self the question: “Is the issue at hand really that important to me”? Do you need to win the fight and run the risk of losing your relationship? Has the issue you are fighting about become more important than your relationship?

Conflict Resolution Skill #2: People always look at me a little kooky when I say this to them but conflict resolution skill #2 is knowing your position on an issue where you and your partner disagree. Most people say of course I know my position – how else could I fight for or make my case for my position? My response to that is of course you know your actual position on an issue, but I challenge everyone to know what the motivations are, what the influences are, what the values are behind one’s position.

In other words, what is it about who you are that has gone into shaping the opinions that you have and the world views that you hold? These opinions and positions you hold on issues just don’t appear out of thin air. They are the by product of your goals, values, expectations and many other things that have shaped you throughout your life.

So knowing your position (which of course everyone knows) when you are fighting with your partner just isn’t good enough!

Conflict Resolution Skill #3: Conflict will never be resolved, on any level, whether it be in your interpersonal relationships, or on the world stage of political negotiations, without effective communication skills. Notice I said “effective communication skills” not just “communication”. The way we communicate with our self and other’s in our lives ultimately determines the overall quality of our life – and it is, indeed, the foundation for all conflict resolution.

So remember – it is how you fight that determines the health and romance of your relationship – not the absence of fighting! Differences of opinions are a great opportunity to learn more about each other as both a couple and as an individual! Approach your disagreements with your partner as an opportunity for growth – not as a major hurdle to overcome – and your relationship will be able to go the distance!

Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,

Dr. Patty Ann


Categories : Stop Fighting


  1. I love #2~ knowing your position on an issue.

    It is so important to know where we stand before we start negotiating, because otherwise we aren’t able to stand in our own power.

  2. Sue Painter says:

    It’s always a good reminder to me about winning versus keeping the relationship intact. On the “task versus relationship” scale I am way way way task oriented, ha! Thanks, Patty Ann.
    Sue Painter

  3. Lisa Manyon says:

    It is so important to recognize the difference between communication and effective communication. Great point.

    Write on!~

  4. A great article Dr. P. So often we fight from how we have been infuenced subconsciously by others and are not even aware of this. As you say Effective Communication is the answer and to do that we have to know who we are without the tapestry of woven influences. A good E.C. course addresses both. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!
    .-= Get Clear Goals with Lynn Moore´s last blog ..Why Inspired Goals Break the Mold =-.

  5. Wow, Dr. Patty Ann, you always have great food for thought.
    I used to be an argument avoider, but you have given me a much better way to process it and address issues. Now all I need is a boyfriend! 🙂

  6. Pinky McKay says:

    Years ago I realised that if 2 people agreed on everything one wasnt thinking – or one had all the power . I decided I am a ‘thinking’ woman.

    I LOVE your approach re what is more important, winning ? Or the relationship? We really do need to think things through -and learn to apologise if we ‘let fly’ in the heat of the moment.

  7. Wow – what great points. They apply to any relationship – personal, professional or casual. And, I love Pinky’s comment – if two people agree on everything, one isn’t thinking!

    • Hi Terry,

      Thanks for your comments. Do you remember the movie “the Stepford Wives”? That’s the relationship you have when one partner does not think for themselves.

      Dr. Patty Ann

  8. More great advice, Dr. Patty Ann! I always love reading what you write! XOXO, Katherine.

  9. A great reminder, thanks for sharing. I’m writing this quote on my “remember” board. Is it worth it to “win the battle only to lose the war”? Love it, thank you.
    .-= Debbie McNeill´s last blog ..Simply Thanks treat holder =-.

  10. Phil Dyer says:

    Dr Patty Ann – Thanks for the great tips, as always! Quick “technical question”…I deal with a lot of couples that have challenges talking about money due to many of the social taboos and dysfunction that seems to revolve around money.

    One of the ways I have heard recommended to make discussing difficult issues easier is to sit back to back, instead of facing each other, to taking non-verbal ques/body language which can distract from hearing the other person’s point out of the equation. Thoughts?


    .-= Phil Dyer´s last blog ..How Would You Like to Spend a Week at an Amazing Villa in Tuscany? =-.

    • Hi Phil,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Let me try to be helpful here. My professional relationship expert opinion would not recommend avoiding non-verbal communication – because, often times, it is the message that is not being verbally communicated that lies at the heart of the difficulty of conflict, especially when dealing with finanical issues between couples.

      My recommendation is to note the discrepancy between the verbal and non-verbal message – and then use that as the starting point for the conversation.

      Hope this was helpful!

      Dr. Patty Ann

  11. I totally agree on this. No matter the issue is, you should think about what happens next? Communication is vital in any relationship and should be practiced more often than usual. At the end of the day one should realize that the argument is part of the relationship and that the relationship should be the main concern.

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