Unresolved conflict destroys relationships: 10 rules you and your partner must keep after a conflict so that unresolved conflict do not destroy your relationship


Conflicts are a part of every relationship, just like sunrises are a part of every day. But the way we deal with disagreements can really make or break a relationship. When we do not sort out our conflicts, they can start to sour everything, creating a lot of unhappiness and distrust between partners. We have put together 10 key rules to help make sure that even though arguments might happen, they do not get to ruin what you and your partner have built together.

1. Don’t go to bed when conflict is unresolved

We all know the advice: “Never go to bed angry.” It’s really worth listening to. Sometimes, it is hard to fix a fight before bedtime, but just starting to talk about it can stop bad feelings from getting worse overnight. Saying “Let’s talk about this more tomorrow” shows you both want to fix things, which really helps.

A book called “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman talks about it. Gottman explains how tackling issues straight away can make relationships stronger. He says it is like clearing the air before those unspoken feelings start to create a distance between partners. It is a good read if you are looking for ways to build a happier and more understanding relationship.

2. Talk about it

After a disagreement, not talking might feel like the easiest thing to do, but it is really not the best choice. Being able to talk openly in a relationship is super important. It is all about sharing how you feel and what you are thinking in a way where you are not scared of being judged or having someone snap back at you. Remember, it is not about who wins the argument. It is all about understanding where the other person is coming from.

A great book that talks about this is “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny. The authors share how open and honest conversations can really solve tough problems in relationships. They say it is all about how we talk and listen, especially when the pressure’s on.

3. Learn to listen to your partner even if they are wrong

Listening to your partner, even when you think they are wrong, is really important. When you are arguing, it is easy to just wait for your turn to speak instead of truly listening. But if you really listen and try to understand where they are coming from, it shows you care about their feelings.

“The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships” by Michael P. Nichols says that listening is not just about being quiet while the other person talks. It is about connecting with what they are feeling and saying. Getting good at this can make a huge difference in how you get along with each other.

4. Forgive your partner quickly

Letting go of anger and hard feelings quickly really helps everyone. When you forgive your partner, even if they have not said sorry, it is like you are healing both of you and your relationship. Forgiving does not mean you forget what happened. It means you are choosing to move past it to keep your relationship healthy and happy.

“The Five Languages of Apology” by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas explain how saying sorry and forgiving can make your bond stronger. They show that understanding each other’s apology language can help you forgive even faster and better. It’s a helpful guide for anyone looking to heal and improve their relationship.

5. Don’t postpone conflict resolution

It might seem easier to ignore problems and hope they just go away on their own, but they usually come back even bigger and messier. It is really important to deal with disagreements as they come up, even if it feels tough at the moment. This way, they do not get the chance to turn into huge issues later.

A book that really helps explain why this is so important is “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. They talk about how facing tough talks straight away can actually make your relationship stronger. The book gives you tips on how to handle these situations with care and understanding.

6. Establish a ‘Cool Off’ period

When arguments get heated, it is hard to keep the conversation helpful. Sometimes, both of you just need a little break to breathe and calm down. Taking a short time apart to cool off can stop things from getting worse. This break gives you both a chance to think things over so you can talk things out without saying something you might regret later.

Book named “The Dance of Anger” by Harriet Lerner explains how taking a step back when you are mad can actually help you understand your feelings better and communicate more clearly. She shows that a little space can make a big difference in solving problems without hurting each other’s feelings.

7. Use “I” statements to express feelings

When you are in the middle of a disagreement, it is really tempting to point fingers and blame each other, but that usually just makes things worse. Instead, try using “I” statements to talk about how you feel and what you need without making your partner feel attacked. For example, saying “I feel sad when…” instead of “You always…” can make the conversation more open and honest.

Marshall B. Rosenberg in his book “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” talks about the power of using “I” statements to express our feelings and needs without creating defensiveness in others. It is a really helpful resource for learning how to communicate in a more compassionate and effective way.

8. Agree to disagree on minor issues

It is totally okay to not always see eye to eye with your partner on every little thing. Sometimes, it is okay to just agree to disagree and move on. You do not always have to have a clear winner or loser in every argument. It’s important to pick your battles and let go of the small stuff. 

In the book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman, the author emphasizes the importance of accepting and respecting each other’s differences. He suggests that learning to agree to disagree on minor issues can actually strengthen a relationship by reducing unnecessary conflicts. 

9. Seek external help if necessary

If you and your partner are finding it hard to work through your conflicts on your own, it is okay to ask for help. Sometimes, things can get really complicated, and that is when seeking help from a counselor or mediator can be a good idea. It is not a sign of weakness, but actually shows strength in recognizing when you need some extra support. A third party can give you both some helpful advice and teach you new ways to talk to each other and solve problems.

10. Commit to continuous improvement

Keep in mind that every disagreement can actually help you and your partner grow. See it as a chance to learn and become better at resolving conflicts. You do not have to be perfect at it, but making progress together is what matters. As you both learn and improve, your relationship will become stronger and more able to handle tough times.


Dealing with arguments in a relationship can be tough, but it does not have to mean the end. Remember, the aim is not to avoid arguments completely, but to figure out how to work through them in a way that brings you closer together. So, try to see each argument as a chance to learn more about each other and become even closer. After all, it is by facing challenges together that relationships really grow and become stronger.

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