10/22/2014 03:37 pm ET Updated Dec 22, 2014

Conflict Resolution in Healthy Relationships

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Conflicts are an unpreventable part of any relationship, but how you deal with those conflicts can make or break the healthiness of your partnership.

Some people mistakenly believe it's the good times that make a great relationship. It does make sense that if you get along well with your partner and mutually enjoy fun activities, there's something truly special in your relationship. However, it's the tough times -- and how you react to those tough times -- that more accurately reflect the strength of your partnership.

For example, you could have fun 90 percent of the time, but suffer from vicious, unpredictable arguments at the drop of a hat. Maybe those arguments are infrequent, but if they aren't resolved in a complete and healthy way, they could form major cracks in an otherwise enjoyable relationship.

In order to resolve your dispute, no matter how big or small it is, follow these steps:
1. Breathe. Don't let your knee-jerk reactions take over your rational mind. Be patient with the situation, and calmly address it.
2. Voice your thoughts. If you're the one with the problem, express that problem sincerely, calmly, and respectfully. If you aren't, ask an honest question that can get you closer to a resolution.
3. Listen. Communication is the key to finding a resolution, and that means truly hearing what your partner has to say.
4. Get rid of your ego. Don't mentally isolate yourself from your partner. You are two equal pieces of one relationship, and thinking only of yourself will get you nowhere.
5. Apologize or ask for an apology. Be sincere and respectful -- this isn't a competition or a time to get lost in a wrestle for dominance.
6. Find a compromise. Odds are, there's a solution that both of you will be comfortable with.
Conflicts are unavoidable when you spend enough close time with another person. Handling those conflicts with maturity and patience is the best way to build and preserve a great relationship.