Based on the work of John M. Gottman, Ph.D, and Julie Schwartz Gottman, Ph.D
Conflict in relationship in unavoidable. We have the right and even the responsibility to tell the one we love about our complaints. Certainly to say nothing about something that is bothering you in any relationship leads to dissatisfaction, resentment and is inherently dishonest. We can learn to manage Conflict in a gentle, positive and productive manner by learning and practicing the following:
SOFTEN START UP: The ability to start talking about a problem or complaint gently, without criticizing or insulting your partner.
TURNING TOWARD YOUR PARTNER: Turning toward your partner physically strengthens the emotional bonds.
REPAIRING THE CONVERSATION: This is an effort to deescalate negative feelings during a difficult conversation. A repair can be an apology, a smile, a bit of humor or an acknowledgement that things became to heated for you to be rational.
ACCEPTING INFLUENCE: Partners who are open to persuasion from each other typically have stronger happier marriages. Being close-minded, stubborn or domineering will have the opposite effect.
There are things that we can work to avoid. There are things that can block the path to resolution and harm the stability of your relationship. Avoid the four horseman (of the relationship apocalypse)
CRITICISM: can appear as complaint or episode of blaming that is coupled with an attack of your partner’s character or personality. Criticism generally starts with you always, you never, you are so..
DEFENSIVENESS: This is a counter attack in that people use to defend their innocence or avoid taking responsibility.
CONTEMPT: This is criticism bolstered by hostility or disgust. Contempt often involves sarcasm, mocking, name-calling or belligerence.
STONEWALLING: This happens when listeners withdraw from the conversation without any warning or cues. (Like talking to a stonewall.)
"Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict."
William Ellery Channing
For more information http://www.gottman.com