The 9 Rs Of Relationship Conflict First Aid

Couples Coaching Relationship Dysfunction
Once we have taken the first step of deciding to stop avoiding conflict in our relationships, practice can transform that conflict into a deeper connection. My 9 Rs of Relationship Conflict First Aid will show you how.

Read time: 3 mins

Relationship Conflict First Aid For The Relationship You Truly Desire

The 9 Rs of Relationship Conflict First Aid help create a safe, supportive space that couples in conflict are willing step into, to do the work.

With a safe space established for all parties, Relationship Coaching can create an opportunity to understand problematic patterns of behaviour and the stories that underpin them. So, here are my nine essential guideposts:


Don’t bottle up the little feelings, which allows them to build into a big ones. They then become harder to control in moments of conflict. Getting to know our feelings a bit better helps us to make conscious choices about how we respond to them 


Stay focused on the topic at hand. Veering into past events or other grievances can draw you into murky waters. When this happens, we increase our relationship conflict and derail the process.


Sentences that start with “I feel..” rather than “you make me feel..”, help us to take responsibility for our emotions. We can then begin to move away from blaming. Accepting that we alone are responsible for our behaviour is an essential building block in creating healthy relationships.

Taking responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and actions means letting go of a defensive stance. Whilst challenging, this is an important building block in Relationship Conflict First Aid.

Ellie Lisitsa expands on the importance of taking responsibility in our relationships. Writing on the blog of renowned relationships expert, John Gottman, she explains what this looks like in our day-to-day interactions.

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We can easily become careless or abusive towards the people we are most familiar with. Through Relationship Conflict First Aid, we can begin to build new habits of respectful language and actions. These will always pave the way for better communication

Response, Not Reaction

When our buttons are pushed we sometimes throw out the first thing that comes to mind. And it is often aimed to cause the same hurt we are feeling in that moment. Stop, breathe, respond constructively.

Receive Deeply

Listening means so much more than being silent, although that’s a good start.

We can use our silence to practice an awareness of everything our partner is sharing with us. From the words chosen to the hand gestures or tone and pitch of the voice. We just need to be quiet enough to see and hear it.

Most of us are so accustomed to filling silence with words or actions. And at times of relationship stress we try to sweep awkwardness and discomfort under a rug of explanation or defensiveness.

If we manage to let go of our judgements, criticisms, past hurts and current defences, for long enough, we may be ready to truly listen to what our partner needs from us.

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Restating and paraphrasing what you’ve heard can be a useful way to check that you’ve understood. This also shows the other that you have actually listened. Conflict conversations that are built on clear understandings have an increased chance of success.


Are you trying to change the other person into who you want them to be? Letting go of control may feel like letting go of power in the relationship. The only person you can ultimately control is yourself. Accepting this will reduce the conflict that is holding you back from a more fulfilling relationship.


Deciding to stop an argument needn’t mean avoiding. The time-out technique means knowing when things have become unproductive and agreeing together to step away for a set time period. This time provides an opportunity to calm down, then return within a stated timeframe

Relationship Conflict First Aid is Just a Phone Call Away

There is something powerful and transformative about sitting with a skilled Relationship Coach. Because sometimes you just need that third person who knows just what kind of support to provide.

Why not contact me today to arrange a free, no-obligation 30-minute First-Step Conversation, to find out how I can help.

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I'm passionate about supporting individuals, couples, families and teams to transform conflict into healthy, happy, and more productive relationships.
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About the author: Chris Pye
Chris lives in Brisbane with his husband, two children and a Greyhound called Senja. His extra-curricular interests and activities include trail-running, music-making and social-justice activism.

Your Next Step

You’ve been through so much in your relationship. And the fact that you are here tells me that you believe there is still plenty to fight for. It tells me you have hope and you see a positive future. Couples Coaching could be the answer.

But maybe you also have doubt about whether I can help you get through this problem. There is one sure way to find out. I invite you to get in touch with me today to organise your First-Step Conversation.

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