By Christine Murray, Healthy Relationships Initiative Director

In times of relationship chaos and conflict, it’s time to activate your strongest and best relationship skills. This includes an intentional effort to use positive communication skills, such as speaking clearly and thoughtfully and listening to understand the other person. Other useful relationship skills include conflict management, problem-solving, emotional regulation, and repairing disconnection.

It’s important to build up your relationship skill set before conflict and chaos erupt. Take time during the calm, positive times in your relationship to strengthen your relationship skills. (Our Healthy Relationships Initiative Toolkits offer resources to help you do this!)

Practice positive relationship skills in less intense moments so that you’ll be prepared with the intensity comes. I’ll admit that it’s very, very difficult to stick with positive relationship skills in the midst of relationship chaos, especially if the other person is not using them. However, the more you apply those skills during difficult times in your relationship, the better you’ll be able to prevent the situation from getting worse. You’ll also be better positioned to get the relationship back on track and work toward reconnecting, if possible.

To help make relationship skills work for you in the midst of relationship chaos, consider the following affirmation: “Relationship challenges are opportunities to practice positive communication and other relationship skills.”

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