10 Ways to Resolve Conflict in Your Relationship


10 Ways to Resolve Conflict in Your Relationship

As we tip-toe into the new year, the desire to reset our relationships and re-evaluate our lives can be all-consuming. Whilst separation might not be on the cards, there may be lots of work to be done to help you grow with your partner over the next twelve months. 

A study found that 79.7% of couples started therapy to tackle communication, with navigating conflict being one of the most common issues. The first step for many couples seeking a happier, healthier relationship is to develop conflict resolution strategies that go beyond pointing the finger or giving one another the silent treatment. 

So, how can we resolve conflict in our relationships in 2024? Here’s what I’ve learned during my 25+ years as a relationship therapist…

How to have healthier arguments in 2024

  1. Deal with conflict as it arises. 

Have you ever tried to have a polite disagreement with your partner only for them to bring up something you supposedly said at their great aunt’s house two Christmases ago?! Stay on topic and focus on one issue at a time. 

When we store things up and use arguments as an opportunity to score points, we make it impossible to communicate effectively. As tempting as it may be to dig up the past, it’s far healthier to tackle gripes as and when they arise. If you can’t discuss things right away, say, ‘Can we talk about this later? When would work for you?’.   

  1. Make time for difficult conversations and set clear boundaries.

Disagreements are unavoidable, but they’re far easier to manage when you regularly work through them together. Set out what you want to discuss and how long for, making sure you allocate no more than an hour. You can always resume the conversation the following day if there’s more to say. 

Setting clear boundaries and time limits can make for way more productive discussions, especially as spontaneous squabbles tend to go round and round in circles ‘til one of you throws in the towel or says something they later regret. 

  1. Acknowledge and respect your feelings.

Are you guilty of making assumptions about your partner’s feelings or intentions? You aren’t a mind reader! You both need to acknowledge and respect one another’s feelings as if you were presenting them during ‘show and tell’ at school, ‘This is how I’m feeling, this is what’s coming up for me, and this is what I want or need.’ 

If you’re stuck in an assumption trap, create a discussion box where you can post subjects you’d like to open up about. Make time to go through them, taking turns to voice your feelings and brush up on your active listening skills. 

  1. Accept you may have different perspectives.

You aren’t going to see eye to eye on everything, and that’s okay! If you have opposing viewpoints, try not to interrogate or invalidate one another’s opinion. The way you process information may also be different. When your partner wants to feel heard, try not to swoop in with solutions – all you need to do is listen.

Unconditional acceptance and flexibility are hugely helpful qualities to work on for the betterment of your partnership. If you find yourself nitpicking, sit face-to-face and, one at a time, use ‘I’ statements to talk about how you feel and where you stand. No interruptions or ‘you’ statements allowed! 

Related – How do you communicate with your partner when you’re not being heard?

  1. Appreciate the past but look to the future. 

Our past doesn’t define us, but it can inform how we approach conflict into adulthood. Give one another grace as you work on minimising learned behaviours from childhood or previous relationships that have no real place in your life together. 

If you avoid conflict out of fear, share your feelings with your partner and let them support you. Be open and explore how you could work together to change your behaviours. For example, if you worry about the worst-case scenario, you could start by grounding yourself in the present. 

Related – What do you do when the past gets in the way?

  1. Agree for a week. 

Find common ground and use it as a jumping-off point for areas where you disagree or typically come to blows. I tell my clients to ‘agree for a week’. For example, you could experiment with a new behaviour for seven days to see how it impacts you both.

It could be something as simple as washing the dishes after your partner cooks dinner or enjoying a phone-free evening together. This technique is an excellent way to honour your partner’s needs, make meaningful changes, and demonstrate your commitment. 

  1. De-escalate heated arguments.  

When you don’t feel heard, you may revert to childish behaviour, like raising your voice or storming out dramatically. If you start to feel irritable or frustrated, call for a time-out. Use a signal or a code word if needs be.

Return to the disagreement when you’ve both had time to cool off and get some perspective. You could even discuss the issue whilst out for a calming walk in nature to keep stress levels to a minimum.

  1. Set intentions and check-in.

Conflict shouldn’t all end in tears. Conclude by discussing the specific actions you can take to resolve the issue both independently and as a couple, and then act on your intentions so you don’t end up having the same argument time and time again.

Be sure to also check in with one another to see what’s working and what needs tweaking. 

  1. Enjoy argument-free time together. 

Giving one another the cold shoulder and only talking to tackle admin won’t make for a happy home! Keep nurturing your relationship by working on your communication and making time for one another. Arguments can sometimes be blown out of proportion, so be mindful of everything you’ve overcome and achieved together.

Reflect on what attracted you in the first place. What did you talk about? What did you enjoy doing? Reignite that spark! Go on dates. Run errands together. Cuddle up on the sofa as you watch TV. Stroll hand-in-hand. Even if you’re going through a squabble-filled spell, it’s important not to let the love fall away. 

Related – Finding Time for Your Relationship: 8 Creative Date Ideas for Busy Couples

  1. Work with a relationship therapist. 

You may be too close to the issues to find clarity. More and more couples are turning to relationship therapy for fresh perspectives. A recent survey found that 57% of therapists reported a rise in clients with relationship issues, and 30% reported a rise in enquiries for couples’ counselling. 

Working with a therapist can help you break issues down and prevent you from becoming stuck in a cycle of paralysis, avoidance or denial. As your relationship therapist, I can help you work through challenges and create blueprints that will serve you well beyond the therapy room. 


The most successful relationships aren’t argument-free. They’re built on healthy, open communication where both parties feel heard and appreciated, and disagreements are discussed and dealt with appropriately. 

Embrace your emotional intuition, reframe your thinking, and model intentional behaviour, and you’ll soon develop healthy conflict resolution strategies to transform your relationship over the coming year.

Bookmark my blog, or follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram or X, for even more ways to reset your relationship in 2024. 


I’m Carla Devereux, an experienced relationship psychotherapist helping couples and individuals explore challenging emotions, behaviours and deep-rooted issues with an integrated therapeutic approach. Book your therapy session by emailing carla@carladevereux.com or calling 0121 745 9044.

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Psychotherapy delves deep into the root causes of your symptoms.  Psychotherapy in Solihull, encompasses a multitude of approaches, each offering a wide range of tools that help different people.