Aug 05, 2015


On the Couch with Christine: How to Manage Relationship Conflict

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Q: We often disagree, how can we prevent relationship conflict?

My boyfriend and I are both very passionate individuals with strong “character” and opinions. We see things from verrrrry different perspectives. In our conversations we find ourselves getting gridlocked and frustrated because we often don’t understand the other’s thoughts and opinions and/or don’t understand why certain things are relevant or important to the other. Could you share some tools that we can use to help us when we find ourselves in this situation?

Thank you in advance,

Confused Girlfriend

Relationship Conflict as a Tool for Growth

Dear Confused Girlfriend,

How beautiful that you are reaching out for support and to allow yourself to learn and grow. That is the first step in any change. Being willing to change, and then to take that next step to reach out, truly shows your commitment to your personal growth.  I want to take a moment to honor you for that.  I would like for you to take a moment, too.  Breathe in and out.  Close your eyes and honor your deep commitment to growth.  Feel that energy for a moment.

What a blessing and curse it is at times that we, as humans, experience this range of emotions and feelings. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we didn’t have any relationship conflict? Or if you and your man got along PERFECTLY all the time?  But my dear, tis not life. It can be. But sometimes it isn’t, and when it isn’t you must learn to see things differently. You must learn to perceive this obstacle with your partner as an opportunity for you to grow and for you to become a more complete version of yourself.

Basically, all relationships are assignments. The assignment is: how can you use relationship conflict as a tool to LEARN, GROW AND EVOLVE?  Try seeing things a bit differently.  It sounds like your partner is a teacher for you and you for him. All obstacles are secretly an opportunity for growth. Ask yourself what is this obstacle teaching me? What is this problem, this issue, teaching me about myself?  Where is the opportunity in this obstacle for you to learn to become a healthier, happier person?

All relationships are assignments to grow and to learn. Your job is to just show up as your best self, which is loving, compassionate and honest.  That’s all you can do.  You can’t control your partner (though wouldn’t it be fabulous for just a moment to believe we can control anything?).  We LOVE as human beings to control stuff, but the truth is, we CAN’T.  You can only accept that this is a learning lesson for you. The faster you accept that you are learning here and that this is the primary purpose for your relationship, the easier you will find it to accept the differences and just do your part.

My advice for you, my dear, is to focus on your side of the street, so to speak.  Focus on what you can do.  Respect yourself, your needs and your wants.  Speak with love and respect to your partner.  Set a time to speak together, at a time that works for you both. Perhaps light a candle and dedicate that time to truly HEARING each other’s feelings.  Hold space for him.  Let him hold space for you.  In the end, I don’t know if you two will work it out or not. But that’s not what you can control.  All you can do is show up as your BEST self and pour love into yourself and into your relationship. Honor your truth and all will eventually work out.  Trust and surrender.  That’s what we are here to do—to learn and grow, and what a fabulous place to learn, in your relationship. There are gems in the stickiest situations, if we just perceive it like that. Have fun learning.  I look forward to hearing back from you and hearing what opportunities you are finding from this obstacle, and what lessons you are learning.

love+more love,


Photo credit: Renee Barron
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Christine Gutierrez

Christine Gutierrez

Psychotherapist, Advice Columnist, Speaker, and Poet. Christine Gutierrez is the Founder of, an online hub that features psychologically savvy and soulful advice, articles, videos, private consultations, workshops, retreats (both live+virtual), radio appearances, and television projects. ”Ancient wisdom with a modern twist” is the motto. Known for breaking stigmas; Christine is taking therapy to the next level, fusing ancient wisdom with modern psychology.

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