Part one in a three-part series.

The tips in this article are based on my Conflict To Connection Cards, which contain 21 different scenarios, practical and real-world answers that help you to navigate conversations in order to retain the connection with your spouse and avoid conflict. My CTC cards have been used by hundreds of students over the years to improve their communication, conversations, and relationships.

Before I get into the tips that I want to share with you, I want to tell you a little more about me, what I do, and what a relationship coach is.

What Is A Relationship Coach?

For over 11 years, my faith and professional certifications in Transformational Life Coaching, and Sex, Love, and Relationship Coaching have brought me to a point where I can now share my work and experience. I have committed my life to guiding women from the shadows of silent suffering or constant arguing into the light of fulfilling relationships marked by open, loving communication, all rooted in authenticity and spiritual strength.

These tips were cultivated and over time have been refined to their simplest form. They seem simple, and they are. But not because they were easy to develop. They are time-tested and based on my experience as a relationship coach. These are my gifts to you, and my hope is that they will guide you through your relationships and open the door to understanding and strength.

I present to you, my conflict to connection guide:

How To Go From Conflict To Connection

#1 – Express Your Feelings and Request Support
If you have ever been overburdened with household responsibilities, then you can understand how difficult it can be to communicate that while also balancing work, school, and just having a life. It’s a lot to deal with. But, as with any other training, you can learn and practice to be better at relationships. Some of us were shown great examples and some of us had to learn the hard way.

There are times when you will need support from your partner or spouse.

Instead of accusing your partner of never helping, express your feelings to them. Let them know that you understand how busy they are. Look for ways to divide household tasks. Suggest ways to work together to streamline activity and maximize efforts. Show them that by doing so, you can free up extra time that can be used to spend together. It’s a win-win for both of you.

#2 – Express Your Concerns and Initiate a Dialog
Money is a touchy subject for a lot of people – couples included. Overspending, lack of financial planning, and waste can add stress and lead to arguments and emotional strife. Instead of blaming or yelling, the next time you’re accused of being terrible with money, instead of responding with a quick and emotional defense, express your concerns, let them know that you want to be on the same page financially, and tell them WHY.

“I want us to save money so we can visit your mom, or take the kids to see my dad” provides a real reason as to why, and it makes the goal easier to see. It also opens the dialog on the subject and puts you into a position where you can make agreements and future plans, including how to manage your money better.

#3 – Focus on the Current Issue
I’m not sure if you’ve ever asked a man in your life or someone you’ve dated to tell you the thing they hate most about relationships. I can’t say for certain, but from speaking to many men and more than a few women on the subject, one answer seems to always come up – bringing up the past.

We are not always the worst offenders. Men do it too. But, for the most part, we get the blame. Now whether we deserve all the credit or not, it’s a valid point and can come up in any disagreement or argument.

I think it’s important that once it does get brought up that you let them know that you want them to understand your perspective on the matter so that you can move on. You don’t want to make the same mistakes and neither do they, but it can help to understand how you got there, or how you came to feel the way you do about it.

Bringing up past mistakes in an argument can derail the entire relationship. To avoid it, focus on the current issue and do your best to let go of past grievances.

#4 – Express Your Need for a Genuine Conversation
Does your boyfriend or husband seem to always make light of the situation? Does he crack jokes or make snide remarks during intimacy? Does he get uncomfortable when you bring up your future or the future of your relationship?

Look, it’s common. A lot of men do it. You might be reading this right now and nodding your head. You might be asking, “What man DOESN’T do that?”.

And you are quite right. A lot of men do. But what do you do in that situation? Do you snap? Do you yell? It’s not always easy to hold back emotions.

The next time you find yourself caught up in an argument and he makes a sarcastic joke, instead of crying, walking away, or fighting it, let him know that you want his support on this and that it means a lot to you to have a genuine conversation.

Some men are afraid of opening up and having a real conversation. They make jokes or make light of the situation because they’re afraid. Engaging with them in a real way and not making them feel bad while understanding what is happening with them can ease tensions and disarm their defenses.

#5 – Express Your Need to be Heard Calmly
We’re all guilty of interrupting. I used to do it a lot as a young girl – at least that’s what my mom told me before I changed the subject.

I once had a friend who’s favorite thing to do would be to ask me a question only to cut me off mid-answer to tell me just how much better they were than me at something. It’s hard to really describe. That’s just sort of how they are.

After years of it, and going through it in almost every conversation, I eventually just laughed it off. It became so common I would just play along half of the time. He either loved the sound of his own voice or forgot that communication is a two way street. Not sure which.

But the point here is this: most people don’t really like to be interrupted.

The best way to deal with this is really simple though – just let them know, in a very calm manner, that you need to be heard. Now, as I said, this is a two-way street. So, don’t cut him off to get your point across. Politely listen to everything he has to say, and then let him know that you also need to be heard. It can be that simple, and it can work really well.

#6 – Express Your Feelings as a Request
OK, this one is so simple, but might require the most amount of patience. It might take longer to master this point than the others.

The fact is, some men don’t really hear us. Well, they hear us, but they don’t really HEAR us. Sometimes, you have to say something a few hundred or thousand times to get the point across. This is not true for all men. Some are great listeners and understand our feelings, and make our happiness a priority. But, for women that feel neglected due to their partner’s hobbies or work schedule, there’s this tip:

Express how you respect their hobbies, their schedule, or their work. Let them know that you understand how important they are to them. But let them know that you are simply looking for a way to connect more and find some time to spend together.

You are not trying to take away time from them, you are simply trying to find the time that you can spend with them and that works for them.

#7 – Communicate Your Needs as a Gentle Request
We all have needs. We all want to love and be loved. But, there are some partners that are just not affectionate enough. Some are too affectionate and can be smothering.

What can you do to get the right amount of affection that you want?

You can express the need for more affection (or less) by using a gentle request. “I know you are busy, but when you show me affection it helps me feel loved and it’s important to me.”

It’s easier for someone to love and show affection when they are not criticized for not doing so. Affection can be a touchy subject for some people, so using this gentle approach can be a great way to improve the amount of affection you receive.

Finding your voice is a vital part of your overall success.

If you’re looking to truly change the way you communicate with your significant other, then finding your voice and being able to work through different scenarios, not just to practice what to say, but to really make each and every response your own. It has to be yours. Drilling each scenario using the Conflict To Connection cards will make it come naturally to you, and working on it over and over can help you find your voice, avoid conflicts, and retain connections.

Where To Go From Here

If you are ready to get started now, get my Conflict to Connection Cards – which are absolutely perfect for practicing ways to communicate better, hold real discussions, and can be used on anything from relationships to managing monthly financials. They’re available free, as my gift to you, to help you get started immediately.