Personal Growth Resources

Go to the Relationships Resource Section   

Go to the Alernative Spiritualty Resources Section   

Go To the Self Help Resources Section   


Conflict Resolution for Couples

Constructive Techniques for Conflict Resolution

Susan M. Mumm, MA

I need to preface this whole discussion about conflict resolution for couples with some disclaimers. The information I am going to present about conflict resolution can only help couples who have bad relationship skills; it cannot help save a bad relationship. The sad fact is, some people, for a variety of reasons, make bad relationship choices. Some people choose partners from a position of low self esteem and a lot of fears and insecurities. Some people come from emotionally damaged families of origin and choose partners when they are in a lot of emotional pain and in a great state of neediness. If the relationship itself is not a healthy choice for one or both partners, studying conflict resolution will not make the relationship work. Even marriage counseling cannot save a marriage where there is not a good “fit”; where there is not enough compatibility regarding values and life goals, or where that mysterious, ever so important, element of romantic passion is missing. In other words if you choose the wrong person, you can do all the “right” things but it still won’t feel right. Lee Santiwan, a great therapist, whom I trained with many years ago, told me, that when she does counseling with couples she tells them in the first session:

“In a sense, I don’t do marriage or couples’ therapy. I do therapy with individuals. Part of that therapy can be working on your relationship or marriage. However, it sometimes happens that the process of therapy leads to a decision that ending your marriage and relationship is the best thing you can do for your mental health and happiness. I don’t want my competence as a therapist measured by how many marriages I save, but rather how well I help my clients make decisions that lead them to happy and fulfilling lives.”

I want to make one other disclaimer. Conflict resolution will not work if there is not a basic mutual respect in the relationship. Each person, in their heart must respect the other person’s needs, rights, and desires. Both people must have good intentions even though they may lack the skills to create the kind of relationship they want. If both people do not have this basic attitude, conflict resolution techniques will not work. The couple will continue to end up in one fight after another. If there is a basic injustice in the relationship where one person’s needs and rights are continually subjugated to the other person’s, resentment will continue to surface and play out in a thousand different skirmishes. Any energy put into such a relationship will be like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in it. So—having laid out my disclaimers, let me move on to the topic of Conflict Resolution. I like to break down the idea of conflict resolution into attitudes and techniques. Let me start with a discussion of constructive attitudes for conflict resolution.

Read More:

Conflict Resolution for Couples PDF Optimized for Viewing Conflict Resolution for Couples Optimized PDF for printing



This site owned and operated by: Susan M. Mumm, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor | Personal Growth Resources, Inc. | Ann Arbor, MI | (734) 913-5859