10 Steps for Resolving Couple Conflict Worksheet


“Don’t find fault, find a remedy”
Henry Ford

“Just do what I say and everything will be fine!" At some point in our lives we all have said this when we could not find a satisfying agreement with our spouse or partner. Anyone of us has differences and disagreements. But healthy people find ways to resolve conflicts without turning them into wars.

When you have issues that are ongoing and you are unable to establish a healthy resolution, use the following Ten Step approach. The exercise may boost your success in ending issues that resist resolution. As simple as the exercise looks, you must take your time to work on all of the steps. Learn one step at a time. Do not skip a step. Each step is built onto the next step, until all ten steps are learned. Imagine learning a new dance with your partner or friend and the dance is made up of ten steps. As you learn each step, the dance starts to evolve and you will find that the steps become easier and the dance more enjoyable. You will experience a similar outcome as you and your partner work through each of the steps.

1. Set a time and place for discussion. Allow at least 30 minutes.

First, schedule a meeting with your partner. Allow for a least 30 minutes. Set a time and place. For example, schedule a meeting on Thursday night from 6pm to 7pm in your living room. Bring paper and pen. Assign the person who feels more comfortable to write the notes.

Meeting Place: _________________________________________________

Date: _________________________________________

Time: _________________________________________

2. Decide on one important problem you would like to resolve.

Start with an easy problem and write the problem above. Remember to be specific. Example: "Anger outbursts hurt us both", rather than, "I don't like the way we talk to each other."

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

3. Without blaming each other, list the things you each do that have not helped to resolve the problem.

Male:

1) ________________________________________________________________________________

2) ________________________________________________________________________________

Female:

1) ________________________________________________________________________________

2) ________________________________________________________________________________


4. Brainstorm and list all possible solutions.

List at least five possible solutions to the problem. List all ideas, even bad ones. Let all your ideas come out. Do not hold any idea back. Remember you're only brainstorming your thoughts. DO NOT EVALUATE ANY OF THE IDEAS AT THIS POINT. DO NOT JUDGE OR CRITICIZE. This will only shut down the thought process and stall your communication.

1) _____________________________________________________________________________

2) _____________________________________________________________________________

3) _____________________________________________________________________________

4) _____________________________________________________________________________

5) _____________________________________________________________________________

5. Discuss and list the advantages and disadvantages of each possible solution.

Advantages - - - - - - - - - Disadvantages

______________________________________ _________________________________________

______________________________________ _________________________________________

______________________________________ _________________________________________

______________________________________ _________________________________________

Be as objective as you can be. Talk about the advantages and disadvantages for each suggestion. You can rate each suggestion on a scale from 0-10, where 0 means: "Not Useful" and 10 means: "Very Useful."

6. List one solution or combination of possible solutions that you both agree to try.

Your pilot project or trial solution does not have to be the final and concrete solution. Decide on a trial period of one week, followed by an evaluation meeting.

Pilot Project Solution:

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

7. Plan and agree how you will each carry out the chosen solution(s). Start today.

Be as specific as possible. Decide on what resources may be needed and obtain them.

Male: ________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

Female:_____________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

8. List possible barriers that may hinder your success during the implementation and decide how to overcome the problems.

Male:

(Possible Barriers)______________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

(Solutions to Barriers)___________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

Female:

(Possible Barriers) ______________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

(Solutions to Barriers)___________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

9. Set a place, date and time within the next week for a follow up meeting to review your progress.

Meeting Place:__________________________________________________

Date: _________________________________________

Time: _________________________________________

If the trial solution was unsuccessful, go back to Step 1 and try again. Don't become discouraged. As in learning to dance, it takes much practice to learn the steps. Take your time to practice each step. Coach each other as you practice and enjoy the learning process. If you have shown improvement, use this exercise to overcome other problems.

10. Pay attention to each other as the week passes. If you notice your partner making a positive contribution toward the solution, give positive feedback for his/her effort. Make couple meetings a regular part of your weekly schedule.




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