Having a meeting once a week for your relationship can make a huge positive impact. Scheduling a conflict conversation may seem absurd at first, but it can prevent minor spats from popping up throughout the week if you have time set aside to be more thoughtful and intentional as you approach what is causing conflict.
We call this weekly constructive conflict hour “The State of the Union Meeting” but if that feels too formal, you can think of it as a weekly check-in.
Agree that the goal of these conversations is to get on the same page and increase the feeling of being each other’s teammate. If it helps, set an agenda.
This meeting has three vital sections:
- Warm-up. Start the conversation with appreciation for each other and celebrations of what’s going well. This sets the tone for the rest of the conversation, which will be about conflict so it’s important to start from a positive place.
- Understanding. Before you come up with solutions, you have to understand each point of view and agree on what problem you’re solving together. Take turns as Speaker and Listener. Resist the urge to persuade your partner of your viewpoint, as it is generally counterproductive.
- Compromise. Now that you understand your partner’s perspective, you can solve the problem together. If you bring a perpetual problem to the meeting, try to find a temporary compromise and agree to revisit it later.
Important note: Take breaks if you find that you and/or your partner are becoming flooded. A positive (win-win) outcome is much more likely if partners aren’t overwhelmed in the process.
Be gentle with each other and ease into it, especially if you don’t already practice regular check-ins. Start with an approachable issue to build the habit—don’t tackle your biggest, most raw conflict up top.
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