Anger management is a necessary part of any healthy relationship. Conflicts are a part of every person’s life. Becoming angry with your partner can occur for reasons as simple as having a difference of opinion or having them leave the cap off the toothpaste. If you don’t utilize anger management skills it can turn a good relationship into a destructive one. However, it’s important for a couple to not just count their conflicts or how often they quarrel, but to understand how they manage to reach a resolution at the end of an argument. Repairing and restoring your emotional connection is critical to a healthy relationship.  This short guide will help you manage conflict with your partner in a way that restores closeness and promotes understanding. 


1. Recognize Your Triggers  

We all are triggered at times. We all get frustrated or agitated. The sooner we can recognize when we are triggered, and it’s usually a sign from our bodies, when we’re starting to get upset, the sooner we can begin to turn things around. This is the beginning of learning anger management skills.

2. Take a Breath  

This step is important. Rather than reacting emotionally when you’re upset, take a few seconds and take three deep breaths. What this does is “interrupt”, or cause a little bit of a pause between the triggered feeling that we’re having and what comes out of our mouths.  

3. Reset & Redirect  

Communication is important for both partners when there is a conflict. To help you manage feelings of anger or frustration, after “interrupting” your trigger try telling your partner something like this, “I’m feeling upset right now, maybe we need to talk about this later or can you tell me again what it is you are trying to communicate with me?”  

4. Calm Down  

Create a “calming phrase”. A calming phrase is a reminder to help yourself calm down when you are feeling triggered. You repeat it silently to yourself. An example of a calming phase could be, “I choose to be midst of the storm”. Calming phrases help calm in the remind you, that YOU are in control and give you the opportunity to “respond” during a conflict instead of “react”.  

 5. Don’t Forget Your Partner  

In the moment of conflict sometimes we see our partner as the enemy, and we forget that this is the person in our life that loves us and is our partner in life. Put a picture in your mind of your partner doing something that creates a loving feeling towards them. Mental imaging when you are angry can help replace anger with love and allow you to approach the situation differently.  

6. Find the Real Issue 

Typically arguments are a sign of a deeper issue. If you find you’re angry because your partner didn’t take out the trash, maybe the deeper issue is that you feel that you are doing the majority of the household chores. Learn to get to the heart of the matter to avoid recycling arguments. 

7. Lean Towards Understanding

Try to understand why your partner or you are upset. Understanding promotes closeness instead of feelings of being under attack. Compromise when possible, and make an effort to resolve the issue in a way that makes both partners feel heard and important. Saying things like, “I understand how you could feel the way you do. I didn’t look at it like that,” can help diffuse conflict.