Many couples are seeking healthier ways to navigate and resolve conflict in their relationships. I often sit across from couples in my office that say, “We just don’t know how to communicate?” While it is true for the couple that there is a communication barrier, they often times think that the barrier to communication is their significant other. If you are looking for ways to change your partner, you will not find that answer here. What I can offer you is guidance on how to remove barriers within yourself that prevent you from engaging in healthy conflict resolution skills. The relational dance and the communication that goes along with it, significantly changes when one or both people in the relationship practice the following exercise.
I recommend finding a safe place where you can sit quietly by yourself. Take a journal, pencil, and your choice of coloring supplies (e.g., crayons, color pencils, markers, or pastels) and place them next to you. While sitting in a comfortable chair with your feet on the ground, close your eyes and take 3 slow deep breaths into your body. Bring into your mind a recent conflict with your significant other. See this conflict as if you are hovering above it. Observe the scene from a distance in your mind that feels comfortable to you and reduces emotional triggers that suck you into the scene. Take some time allowing for the full scene to take shape in your mind. Notice where this conflict is occurring. Is it in your kitchen, bedroom, or car? Are you outside or inside? Observe where you are located in relation to your significant other in this scene. How close or far away are you from your partner? Are you standing, sitting, driving, on your phone, etc.? Observe your body language, facial expression, posture, and emotional energy in the scene. Give yourself the time you need to take in the observational data of the image in your mind. Once you feel you have fully observed the scene, begin to change the picture with your imagination. Transform the scene and yourself until you picture yourself responding to the conflict in the way that feels best to you and creates the opportunity for a sense of well-being and resolution. Hold this transformed image in your mind and take 3 more slow deep breaths into your body. Now slowly open your eyes.
Retrieve your journal and do the following:
1) Draw the transformation of the scene in whatever way you like. You can use symbols, colors, images, and/or stick figures to express the scene and how it c
2) Journal what you observed about the scene and about yourself. What needed to change in order for there to be a sense of well-being, emotional safety, and resolution? What do you want to begin doing differently in times of conflict with your partner? How can you begin to implement these changes?
I hope you found this Conflict Resolution Exercise for Couples helpful. If you would like more information about Inner Journey Counseling and how to resolve conflict and restore connection in your relationship, please visit IJC at InnerJourneyGA.com or call at 1-678-521-6626.