This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Fighting can be a relationship killer. Passion is a great on the positive end but if you or your partner overheats during an argument, it can have an overall negative impact on the whole relationship. The way we show up in relationships depends a lot on our attachment style and love language. Our attachment style shows up the most during moments of conflict and turmoil.
People have different emotional maturity levels, it’s unrealistic to think we will be perfectly matched with someone by emotional maturity level. Because we all have different emotional growth opportunities, maintaining a healthy happy relationship depends on being open to growth within your own emotional framework.
Unhealthy relationships can be toxic, but often, they’re in need of a skill set or some tools to correct unhealthy behaviors. Conflict resolution is a skill not a natural occurrence. People learn skills through practice. Without being afforded the opportunity to practice skills, or given examples of what healthy conflict resolution looks like, arguments can become a major problem.
Relationships can become healthy with the right intentions. People who share goals and values can search out the tools they need to create healthier habits and a healthy relationship.
Relationships are like plants, easily brought back to life with the right attention.
Creating a Conflict Plan for All Types of Relationships
Healthy relationships are not relationships without arguments or disagreements or turmoil. In healthy relationships people are treated with compassion and respect, listened to, and open to growth. Using the right tools to manage different situations allows people to navigate emotional ups and downs while maintaining an overall healthy relationship.
Having a conflict plan for yourself is a great way to keep yourself in alignment with how you want to respond to certain communications. In romantic relationships, a conflict plan is an amazing tool to maintain the peace in a shared space. We don’t always have the opportunity to take physical space from a romantic relationship, so a conflict plan is a great tool that allows for emotional space.
Creating a conflict plan can be done for all types of relationships.
- Friend groups
- Romantic relationships
Plans are structured around the same basic concept of good communication and respect, but there may be specific practices in your relationships that could be helpful to add.
Conflict Plan Examples
Below is a basic outline of what you can include in your conflict plan. Notice that this is not a conflict resolution plan, because it is not designed to help you come to a specific resolution. This is not meant to stop you from arguing but instead help you argue in healthy, effective ways.
Conflict Plan Example:
- I will use I statements.
- I will do my best to understand.
- Communication is for connection and I’m the best person to know if I’m trying to connect.
- I will answer your questions honestly and to the best of my ability.
- I’m open to hearing your experience.
- Questions & Complaints go first in, first out.
- I will be compassionate and respectful.
- I will use emotion words.
- When I’m feeling upset, I’ll take a moment to recommit to this plan.
When referring to this plan, you can remind yourself of how you want to show up in your relationship. Setting a conflict plan when you’re in a good place means everyone contributes their perspectives. We’re the best person to speak to our own selves when upset so committing to behaviors and writing them down lets us do the talking.
Relationship Check in Questions
Unhealthy relationships take work to become healthy relationships. If you’re worried about presenting a conflict plan, you may want to start with some relationship check in questions. Checking in gives each person an opportunity to say what they want from the relationship and how they feel their needs are met.
Each person is listened to and offered validation for sharing. A relationship check in is a good place to bring up conflict management. Approaching the situation from a desire to connect is a healthy place to start.
Relationship Check In Questions:
- What do you think of our connection?
- How do you feel when I leave?
- How do you feel when I come back?
- What do you think of our communication?
- What three things are you happiest about?
- What three things are you unhappiest about?
- Do you have goals for our relationship? What are they?
- Do you feel heard, understood, validated when we argue?
- Do you feel heard, understood, validated after we argue?
- How do you feel about the way I apologize and change behavior?
- What do you think about the way I handle criticism?
- Do you feel supported by me? How could I support you differently?
After discussing these questions and giving each person a chance to feel validation, it’s a good time to bring up a conflict plan. Acknowledging and accepting that conflict is a part of healthy romantic relationships lets each person know their feelings are acceptable. Planning out how to have conflicts lets each person know they’re safe.
If having a face to face conversation in a currently unhealthy relationship doesn’t feel right to you, print off these questions and write your answers before hand, then exchange copies to read.
Every Relationship Can be Improved
People who want a healthy relationship can have one. There are tools and resources available to help you develop the skills you need to participate in healthy ways. Once you know how to be a part of a healthy relationship, you’ll know how to communicate with your partner and how to set and enforce the right boundaries to maintain your health.
Relationships benefit from boundaries. Give yourself time, space, and grace and you can be surrounded by healthy relationships.