“Happy couples repair, and they do so early and often.”
Unresolved conflicts can linger in our heads and hearts, and when we don’t take the time to repair the wounds in ourselves and our partner, it can damage our partner relationship long-term.
Learning to repair after conflict can be challenging and it requires both partners to give up the concept of “winning” or being right. The truth about partner relationships is that no one wins when conflict goes unresolved or when one person feels validated, while the other feels unheard.
Some strategies to repair after a conflict include:
- Respond to one another’s bids for affection, even if it is hard to do so in the moment. This is tough when our emotions are at a high and if we feel that we are not being heard, but responding to your partner touching your hand or rubbing your shoulder can help you both remember that you are on the same team.
- Do something nice for your partner. Even a small act can change the direction of your day and can help you both feel connected after a difficult conversation.
- Give space if you or your partner needs it. While it is important to find ways to connect after a conflict, sometimes, giving the other person some space before doing so can help both partners decompress and come back to reconnect more naturally.
- Keep practicing these skills, even if it’s not always perfect. It’s important for couples to continue to practice repairing after conflict, even if the first few times are shaky, or if they struggle to do it consistently. Like any skill we learn in life, relationship skills must be practiced in order to feel comfortable using them.
All couples have arguments and conflict, but couples who know how to repair afterwards are more likely to find themselves in a happy, healthy, and safe relationship that lasts the test of time.