Conflict Resolution

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
— 1 Corinthians 13:13

Every one fights. You will too. One key to a successful relationship is learning to fight fairly. We know our loved ones Achilles’ heel; the challenge is to not use that knowledge to harm another when we are red-hot with rage. A fight about who does the dishes shouldn’t end up with words that wound and can never be taken back.  Learning to fight fairly is a skill and we can all learn to do a better job. Here are some ideas.

Using "I" Statements to Resolve Conflict: D.E.S.C Model

D = DESCRIBE the behavior that you do not like.

E = EXPRESS your feelings regarding the behavior, using an “I” statement.

S = SPECIFY a more acceptable behavior, either with or without the input of the person(s) with whom you are experiencing conflict.      This can best be done by listing alternative behaviors and coming to an agreement upon one of them.

C = Developing CONSEQUENCES, both positive and negative, might be helpful, especially if previous efforts at resolving the conflict have led to mistrust. This need not be done if trust is present.


  • I feel [state a feeling] when you [describe the behavior].
  • I would really like to do something about this situation so that it will not happen again. I’m wondering if you have any ideas about possible solutions.
  • Here are some of my ideas. [State alternative solutions and come to an agreement on one of them.]
  • Now, since this problem has come up before, I want some assurance that the problem will work this time. [Negotiate positive and/or negative consequences.]
  • I feel much better now that we’ve spoken about this issue. I appreciate your willingness to work this out with me.

Information from here.

Thomas-Kilmann Model of Conflict Resolution


takes a wholly assertive and uncooperative approach to resolving the conflict. It means standing up for your rights, defending a position which you believe is correct, or simply trying to beat the other side.


takes a wholly unassertive and cooperative approach. This might take the form of selfless generosity or charity, giving in to another person’s orders when you would prefer not to, or yielding to another’s point of view.


takes an unassertive and uncooperative approach to the conflict and don’t deal with it. Avoiding might take the form of diplomatically sidestepping an issue, postponing an issue until a better time, or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation.


takes an approach that is both assertive and cooperative but only to some extent. It’s the approach of “half a sixpence is better than none.” Both sides get something but not everything. It might mean splitting the difference between the two positions, some give and take, or seeking a quick solution in the middle ground.


takes the opposite extreme of avoiding. It means being willing to believe that when two parties are at loggerheads, it is possible for both sides to come out with what they want. Collaborating requires developed conflict resolution skills based on mutual respect, a willingness to listen to others, and creativity in finding solutions.

Adapted from here.