The journey to a conscious, healthy relationship is lifelong. As couples use the Imago dialogue process, empathy, respect, and trust build in their relationships. Having a healthy, conscious relationship, doesn’t mean conflict won’t happen. In fact, it is inevitable; yet somehow, the conflict, though unpleasant, doesn’t last as long and won’t become long-term resentment.

After an initial response of anger or annoyance, a “conscious couple” looks at the conflict from the other’s perspective, perhaps, before even having a discussion about it. As empathy for each other increases, partners are able to appreciate and validate the other’s perspective. Because of mutual respect, I know my partner’s experience is valid, even if it differs from my own. As trust builds, we realize that our partner is not intentionally trying to hurt us, even if it feels that way. Although the journey towards a healthy relationship can be arduous, the benefits far outweigh the difficulties.

Next time you find yourself in conflict with your partner, try to think about it from the other perspective. “Get into their shoes.” Knowing what you know about him or her, what makes sense about his or her words, actions or reaction? Although you may have had no intention of hurting or angering your partner, what part of your actions or words could have triggered that response? Even though the conflict may not have been intended, affirming your partner’s feelings or experience even if different from your own can go a long way to healing the hurts and resolving the issue. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It is about loving, hearing and validating each other