How to Have a Healing Conversation With Your Partner

how to have a healing conversation with your partner repair

People are often comforted to know that struggles, disagreements, and fights in relationships are completely normal. These moments of rupture, or disconnection, happen in every single close relationship.

Each person has come from different family systems and life experiences that result in unique communication styles, values, needs, and ways of expressing emotions.

These differences can lead to misunderstandings and conflict. However, they often represent a chance to get to know your partner better and to reexamine the assumptions you hold about the world and relationships.

Handling this conflicts in an effective way can lead to greater intimacy with your partner and more understanding of yourself. Healing conversations and experiences of repair are one of the best ways to develop secure attachment and build greater connection after a fight.

Repair is one of the most transformative relationship strategies to add to your toolkit to build a healthy relationship. I’m going to breakdown how to transform conflicts and fights into a healing conversation that will bring you greater connection and intimacy.

how to have a healing conversation with your partner

The first step to a successful healing conversation is to manage your mindset going in. It can be tempting to enter conversation with your partner with the urge to state all the ways you were right and they were wrong.

Instead, look at the talk as an opportunity to learn more about where they were coming from and their experience. This way, you open yourself up to taking in more information that can impact your understanding of your partner and the fight itself.

repair relationship

Another key mindset strategy in dealing with fights is to separate yourself and your partner from the fight itself. Instead of looking at your partner as the problem, consider the problem to be the dynamic or the fight pattern.

Using this perspective, you are not taking sides against one another, but align yourselves to work as one united team to overcome the conflict or disagreement.

How to Have a Healing Conversation With Your Partner

Fights, and communication in general, are dynamics that take feedback from both sides. Both partners have some part in the fight going to the place that it went.

Maybe….

  • You shut down or listen with judgement
  • You yell when you wanted to stay calm
  • You defend yourself and criticize your partner

These behaviors happen for the best of us. For couples to move forward in an effective, healthy way, it is important for each person to take genuine responsibility for their part in the dynamic.

Once you have taken responsibility for your actions, partners should acknowledge the impact they had on the other. This starts with active listening to gain a sense of what the fight looked like from your partner’s point of view.

In close relationships where we have deep feelings of love and connection to the other, the words or actions that might not mean much coming from a stranger’s mouth can really sting. Each partner should acknowledge this fact and own the way their behavior impacted the other.

This could sound like:

  • “I see how the way I reacted through defending myself sounded like criticism to you. I know hearing criticism from me means something to you and does not feel good.”

Remember, it’s not about being “right” or “wrong.” The objective of a healing conversation is not to win, it is to connect. Challenge yourself here, even if you have been hurt, to look through the lens of your partner and see what impact you can own.

healing conversation with partner

Once you acknowledge the behavior and its impact, validate each other for the emotions that follow. This step is one layer deeper, requiring partners to look inside themselves at the parts that were hurt, upset, or activated by the other.

Once you have identified those parts, share with one another. Validate that your partner was right to feel hurt in the ways they did.

Validating their emotion does not mean they were right and you were wrong; it means that the fight led to exchanged words and actions that hurt both of you. The ability to validate is key to repair.

This could sound like:

  • “Thanks for telling me about how when I criticize you it makes you feel like you are a failure. I get that feeling that way is sad and upsetting, and it makes sense that you feel that way.”

Being validated by your partner is a transformative part of repair. You are seen and your emotions are accepted. You don’t have to fight anymore.

Notice how their ability to understand how you feel changes the level of connection you feel toward them.

how to have a healing conversation with your partner

So far, we’ve moved away from a winners and losers mindset into a team-approach, we’ve acknowledged what’s happened, owned the impact, and validated one another for the rupture that already happened. We have a good idea of what went wrong in this specific scenario.

Now, we need to think about what will be different in the future so we can both trust each other to let this fight go. Improving your relationship in the long haul requires looking both back and looking ahead.

Knowing what you now know about your impact on your partner, state what you are willing to do differently if conflict arises again. State clearly what you need to feel safe in conflict in the future, and be as open to hearing the needs of your partner.

how to have a healing conversation with your partner repair

Maybe this fight wasn’t a one time thing. In fact, maybe you fight all the time, about the same things, over and over, getting no where, no matter how much you love each other and long for things to change.

Usually, there are unique themes and patterns underneath the surface of recurring conflict. The reason it keeps coming up is because something underneath has not been resolved.

Taking an assessment to uncover your fighting communication style can help couples to slow down and begin piecing together what happens in these conflicts. Defining and understanding your current state is the first step to change.

For some couples, conflict is too hot or too complex to work through in a healthy, effective, sustainable way without professional guidance. Here are some signs therapy could benefit you:

  • You notice you are having the same fight over and over
  • Even when you try to resolve things, you still feel unsettled
  • You don’t feel heard or seen when you try to communicate
  • You have become more dismissive since things never work out when you do try
  • You feel like you can’t move forward after fights no matter how much you want to

This does not mean that there is anything wrong with you. It just means that you’ve found yourself in a relationship that hits your triggers and soft spots and haven’t found an effective way of navigating it yet.

A therapist trained in working with couples can help you to:

  • Slow things down so you can start to understand why conflict keeps arising
  • Form new, healthy communication styles
  • Help you understand and share your needs with one another
  • Create greater intimacy

Working with a therapist can be beneficial throughout all stages of a relationship, from those looking to discover how to reconnect after a relationship break , to couples therapy for young couples, to those who have been married for years but don’t feel like their partner has seen them.

A therapist will provide a safe container to enter difficult conversations that will transform your relationship.

healing conversation therapy

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