Conflict Resolution: The Most Powerful Way to Resolve Conflicts in Relationships

Taking responsibility for your words and or actions is one of the most important steps in resolving conflicts in relationships. 

Have you ever found yourself disagreeing with your spouse over how the pillows were placed on your couch, only to find yourselves in a heated argument?  Learning to communicate clearly and effectively is such a crucial skill for couples to have in order to build or to maintain a healthy relationship.  Most of us fail to take this important step because we are often too busy defending our point of views or our behaviors.  We focus mainly on our motives versus listening to how our spouse experiencing our behaviors. Instead of resolving the conflict, you both end up feeling not heard, distant, angry or resentful. 

Here are 5 steps to help you learn to take responsibility for your behavior during a conflict. 

Step 1: Ask your spouse to describe how they received your message (words/behavior) and how it made them feel.

Step 2: Take ownership for YOUR behavior and apologize.    

Step 3: Clarify your message.  At times you may have to restate your message if the receiver misunderstood.

Step 4: Allow the listener to paraphrase your message in their own words so that you can ensure that he or she clearly understands the second time around. 

Step 5: Be honest.  At times, the receiver might simply be hurt from hearing the truth.   However, your responsibility is to tell the truth in love and with kindness. 

Both individuals should take turns practicing the above 5 steps so that each has a chance to express his or her thoughts and feelings. 


If you find yourself at an impasse and unable to resolve your conflicts, please feel free to reach out to us for support.  We can be reached at (860) 593-4908 or visit us at

Nardine Staroverov, LMFT