Although conflict is a natural aspect of any relationship, it can also be a significant stress source.  Therefore, it's essential to learn how to resolve disputes respectfully and find a resolution-regardless of the issue's size. This seems like an obvious statement, but many people tend to suppress their emotions so that they can keep the peace. However, having productive discussions and acknowledging there's an issue can only strengthen your relationship quality.

This is why conflict resolution — the ability to resolve issues respectfully, is so crucial.

Here are 6 strategies to make conflict resolution more straightforward and less stressful.

Sharpen your listening skills. How we listen is just as important as how we express ourselves. Sometimes, making an effort to ensure the other person feels heard and understood can go a long way towards resolution. Good listening also allows you to bridge the gap between the two of you, understand where the disconnect lies, etc.

Practice assertive communication. Communicating your feelings and needs is also an essential feature of conflict resolution.  The critical thing to remember is to say what's on your mind clearly and assertively, without aggression. 

Seek a solution. Once you find common ground, it's time to seek a resolution. If the disagreement was based on a misunderstanding, sometimes a simple apology can do the trick, and having an open discussion with your partner can bring you closer together. Other times, it's a bit more complicated. If there doesn't seem to be a clear solution, you can agree to disagree, compromise, or come back to it later when both of you have had time to process. The most important thing is to go to a place of learning and try to work things out in a respectful way to all involved.

Compromise. Compromise is an art. Relationship expert Dr. Gottman advises, "Compromise never feels perfect. Everyone gains something, and everyone loses something. the important thing is feeling understood, respected, and honored in your dreams." 

Refrain from showing contempt for your partner. Relationship experts say that out of all the negative things you can do or say, the worst of them is showing contempt. These are the remarks that belittle or put your partner down. Name-calling, sarcastic comments, smirking, or rolling your eyes are all examples of contempt and show your partner that you don’t respect them. Not only does it make it challenging to have a productive conversation, but expressing contempt has also been shown to be the number one predictor for divorce. 

Accept influence. Acknowledge that your partner can have healthy ideas and opinions. Show respect for them and find something you can learn from your partner. Take this quiz to see where you most need to improve when it comes to accepting influence.

These strategies aren’t the easiest to practice but will benefit you and your partner in the long run. Do your best to utilize a few. You’ll be sure to notice significant improvements in the quality of your conversations and relationship.