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How To Maintain A Healthy Relationship By Managing Conflict

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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Award-winning journalist Paula Ebben co-anchors WBZ-TV News at 5PM...
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BOSTON (CBS) – All relationships, even healthy ones, have some level of conflict. The challenge for couples is to make sure they work these issues out successfully.

Dr. Mark Crawford, a clinical psychologist, said, “Conflict is just disagreement, and for two people to be in a relationship they have to disagree about some things.”

When this happens, and it always does, couples are advised to follow some basic ground rules.

First, easy does it. If you need to bring up an area of disagreement, do so gently.

Next, control your emotions. If the conflict escalates, take a break and regroup later.

Also remember to listen, avoid insults, and don’t yell. Crawford said, “I’ve never seen anyone get yelled into agreement, ever. It never happens.”

Each person needs to have some honest moments of introspection as well. If you’re the cause of a fight, or made matters worse, a heartfelt apology can go a long way to resolving matters.

Crawford also advises taking a step back. “I need to remember all the reasons I’m with this person. All their good qualities. All the things I respect and admire and appreciate. So it’s all about keeping perspective. That’s really important.”

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