Conflict resolution is a simple, but DIFFICULT process. Most couples just jump into the deep end of the pool and start arguing. Instead, use this methodical, step-by-step approach and find the success that has eluded you! Here’s what this process looks like:
- Focus on ONE ISSUE with a complete A-B-C picture
- Hear each person’s perspective and feelings
- Mirror back and validate each other’s perspective
- Hear each side’s best-case solution. Mirror/validate.
- Hear what each of you would be willing to settle for. Mirror/validate.
- Negotiate a mutual resolution
STEP 1 – PICK ONE BATTLE TOGETHER
The first step is to agree on ONE issue that BOTH of you want to resolve. Keep the topic focused and short. Avoid snowballing!
DO NOT TRY TO SOLVE THE ISSUE YET!
Once you agree on the single issue, separate and break the issue down into A-B-C. Do not do this together!
What A-ACTION started the conflict. B – What is your personal BELIEF about the action. C – What is the CONSEQUENCE. What did you do next? Don’t solve it yet! Write it down.
STEP 2 – SHARE YOUR A-B-C PERSPECTIVE AND FEELINGS
Take turns sharing your view of the conflict. Give your side of the issue; describe in as much detail as possible and share how this makes you feel. Remember, when one is talking the other is listening so that the listener can mirror and validate in step 3. When both of you have shared, go to step 3.
STEP 3 – MIRROR & VALIDATE
This is a difficult step because you are mirroring a perspective that you do not agree with (that’s why you’re fighting ;))
“What I heard you say is…” and “I hear that you feel…” When both of you have shared, go to step 4.
STEP 4 – BEST CASE SOLUTION
The BCS is a personal, perhaps selfish, perspective. You will share exactly how you think this conflict should be resolved and your partner will do the same. Once both of you have shared, mirror and validate before moving on to step 5.
STEP 5 – SETTLE FOR SOLUTION
Now that you’ve heard your partner’s solution and you know what you want, What are you willing to settle for in order to get back to a place of warmth and connection?
Once both of you have shared, always mirror and validate.
STEP 6 – NEGOTIATE A MUTUAL SOLUTION
You now have enough information to negotiate openly so go ahead and talk about the best way to take this “rock out of the jar”. Most couples start at step 6 which is a recipe for disaster!
Work the steps and find your way through conflict in a way that gives you the best shot at your own “happily ever after!”