Let's be honest: Every couple has their disagreements. Regardless of how often you argue with your partner, a new study reveals there is one thing you can do to repair the damage. A recent article explored fresh findings by the , which suggest couples in long-lasting relationships do one vital thing after a fight: They make their partner feel understood. "Conflict is only negatively associated with relationship satisfaction... when people do not feel their thoughts, feelings, and point of view are understood by their romantic partners," says Berkeley psychologists Amie Gordon and Serena Chen.
Want to master the art of conflict? Psychologist John Grottman told the top rules for overcoming conflict. Scroll down to discover how to overcome conflict and develop qualities of a long-lasting relationship.
Open-ended questions help you explore your partner's feelings and set the tone for a two-way conversation. "They open up the heart and have acceptance at the base of them," he says. For example, if you've had an argument about not spending enough time together after work, rephrase your question so it invites your partner to open up. Rather than "Why don't you ever make time for me?" try, "How are you finding your workload? How do you think we could balance it so we can spend more time together?"
In the midst of a fight, emotions run high and it can be tempting to say things that are extreme or hurtful. It's important to take a moment to calm yourself and articulate your thoughts and emotions. It's about "being able to put your emotions into words that really are what you actually feel," says Gottman.
Those in strong relationships , even during conflict. "Research has shown that kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage," writes Emily Esfahani Smith in an article for Resist the urge to make unconstructive comments during the fight that might damage your relationship in the long term.
Instead of telling your partner you understand, show them. "Empathy is really communicating that you understand your partner's feelings and they make sense to you," says Grottman. "It's really caring about your partner's welfare, not just your own."
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