André Anthony Moore, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (New York State License: 001435)

Ketamine and Psychedelic Assisted Therapist certified by The Integrative Psychiatry Institute Practitioner of Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Use Nonverbal Sensorimotor Techniques to deepen Emotionally Focused Therapy

The Most Important Skills for Relationship Conflict Resolution

Nobody enjoys arguing. Well, maybe lawyers – but for the rest of us, conflicts are best avoided.  But what happens when we can’t avoid conflicts in our day to day lives, especially in relationships? Here is what you need to know about the most important skills for relationship conflict resolution.

Communication is Key

When it comes to conflict resolution in relationships, communication is the most critical skill required. In any healthy relationship, communication is key. When you are able to successfully communicate, not only do you better understand your partner, but you help make your relationship stronger. By effectively communicating you can defuse any number of common relationship conflicts and resolve issues in a healthy way. These include:

Setting Boundaries

When it comes to relationship issues, respect is always the name of the game. Everyone, no matter who deserves to be treated with respect. By effectively communicating with your partner, you can ensure you are both fully respected when in conflict. Say they call you “stupid” or ridicule you. Tell them to stop and that they need to understand that their words and actions hurt.  Effective communication means the effective setting of boundaries.

Finding the Heart of the Issue

Relationship conflicts generally boil down to two opposing views on one topic. But really, these arguments are about something more important- one partner’s needs not being met. Instead of arguing about superficial things, get to the heart of the issue at hand.

Every couple fights differently and most of the time what they’re fighting about isn’t the real argument. Some deeper hurt or frustration usually gets triggered by the way they express themselves if something is bothering them. For example:

  • You said you were going to help me shop and you didn’t because you just don’t give a damn about me.
  • You never even bothered to tell me you couldn’t come to mom’s dinner because you had to work late.
  • I’m supposed to jump with joy when you clean the kitchen and take out the garbage. The last time you bothered was over a month ago.

In each of the above accusations, only the angry feelings get expressed. The deeper emotional need of the complaining lover never gets touched. Even worse, much of the time couples sweep their real emotional needs under the rug until one just blows up at the other.

At Marriage Couples Counseling, our job is to help lovers re-frame or re-label their arguments so they can see the hurt or deprivation underneath their anger and how much they really need one another. Each of the above accusations could be rephrased in the following manner:

I was so exhausted when I left work and it was really important to have you there, not so much to help me lug the groceries, but just for you to be there.

I really missed you at dinner and I know this will shock you but so did my mother.

I was so grateful when you cleaned the kitchen and took out the garbage. It made me realize how much I need you to help me more often with the other household stuff.


Conflict resolution is often about compromise. Alain de Bottom writes that “The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compromise is an achievement of love.”

Of course, all of this is easier said than done. The next time you’re tempted to argue, take a step back and truly consider what your partner is trying to say. Maybe, just maybe, by moving your position a tad, you two can find amicable ground to build upon.  Communication and compromise go hand and hand.

Couples Therapy to Help You and Your Partner Communicate

Now that you know the importance of successfully communicating in improving your relationship, it’s time to implement this critical skill into your everyday life. If you and your partner feel that a couples counselor could help your relationship flourish by helping the two of you better communicate, don’t wait to find one. Marriage Couples Counseling in New York City is here to assist you and your significant other with any communication issues the two of you may be facing. Do not hesitate to reach out and seek our help. Call us today at 212-673-4618 for the help you need.

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  • NAP Details:

    Marriage Couples Counseling & Life Coaching
    160 Bleecker Street, 9C East, New York, NY 10012
    (212) 673 4618