Handling conflict in a relationship is challenging for many couples. It can be difficult to find ways to talk about disagreements or complaints that don’t devolve into arguments that don’t resolve anything, leave you both feeling worse, and potentially lead to more fights down the road.
Marriage expert John Gottman describes five steps to deal with conflicts without letting them turn into fights. You can learn about these steps in more detail from his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Step 1. Soften Your Startup: You’ll find my video all about how to soften your startup in an earlier post. “Startup” refers to how you initiate a discussion with your partner about a complaint you have or an issues of conflict in your relationship. Regarding startups, Gottman says: