How to Create More Connection Through Conflict

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connection through conflict

My podcast guests, CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke spoke about how to create more connection through conflict. Check out highlights and tune in!

If you’re like most people, you avoid confrontation at all costs. What if there was a new way to frame conflict – as something to be welcomed, not avoided? And what if you could learn to use conflict to improve all your relationships? In this episode, you’ll learn how to create more connection through conflict.

CrisMarie Campbell, an Olympic rower, Boeing flight test engineer has her MBA, and Susan Clarke, a former marriage therapist and Equus coach. They are the authors of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team’s Competitive Advantage and their forthcoming book The Beauty of Conflict for Couples. As partners in work and life for over two decades, they’ve adapted their proven step-by-step process honed working with Fortune 100 Companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, AT&T and San Francisco Giants to help long-term couples use conflict as a catalyst to greater intimacy, passion, and fulfillment.

Check out highlights below for EP 373: How to Create More Connection Through Conflict. 

How to Create More Connection Through Conflict

Most people think, “If we fight all the time, we’re probably not meant to be together.” But in your book, The Beauty of Conflict for Couples, you say conflict in a relationship can be a positive sign–and in fact, no conflict at all could be a red flag. Talk more about this.

Susan: No boundaries, no conflict. Boundaries are self-expression, defining what you like and dislike. There is going to be conflict in relationships. Long term relationships have to do with what you like and don’t like.

CrisMarie: I thought good relationships are where everything is smooth. I was a pleaser. I thought I got everything right, and I was miserable. The problem was I wasn’t bringing forward my own voice. You have to know how to deal with differences. I thought my opinion didn’t matter. One day, I saw Susan deal with a bully really honestly, and I wanted to learn how to do that. Every time a conflict came up, I wanted to run. But, we came up with a unique solution, the beauty of conflict.

In your book, you say too much make-up sex could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Please explain!

Susan: Often, makeup sex comes after a fight. There’s an apology and great sex. The problem with that is it doesn’t address the issue. They say “I’m sorry” without really understanding what was wrong. You don’t have the right conversation.

What’s a simple tool to have a tough conversation?

It’s called a 5/5/5. The first 5 minutes, partner A brings up the topic. Partner B listens. Partner B has five minutes to talk, Partner A listens. The last 5 minutes is a dialogue. At the end, you stop talking. Take space. You’ll probably find a solution.

What is your definition of compatibility?

The ability to be empathetic and curious about the other person is the most important thing. Find out why someone does something different from you.

One of the most common complaints you hear from women in long-term relationships is they feel alone and crave more intimacy. In your book, you say it’s possible to achieve that intimacy without going to couples counseling or even if your partner doesn’t want to “do the work.” How is that possible?

In any situation, there’s a ME axis and a WE axis. Many times, people are suffering from a lack of connection. If they addressed what they needed to feel alive and do it for themselves, they’d be so much happier. Instead of your partner changing to make you feel more alive, you start to shine and your partner will likely get more interested.

Learn more about CrisMarie and Susan here: The Beauty of Conflict Podcast and go to their website to buy their books

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