The last couple of weeks I have been sharing about tensions in relationships. We have talked about things that can lead to a fight and the anatomy of a fight . Though none of us want to end up with a relationship conflict, we need to be able to deal with the fallout when it is over. I hope that the previous articles have offered you some insight that will help you avoid some of the major conflicts that you could have in your relationships, but in those instances when it was not avoided, there are some things that I think you should do after the fact to try to fix the damage. Here are three things that can help you when you find yourself in those unfortunate moments.

Apologize Quickly

We all want to be right. No one wants to be wrong. But if we have arrived at a place where we have a major conflict or a fight in our relationship, there is usually plenty of blame to go around. The sooner you apologize the quicker you can begin the healing process. I know some people say that actions speak louder than words, but this is one instance when that is not true. Apologies are the starting point to reconciliation. It is the recognition that something is wrong and needs to change. You cannot apologize too soon after a conflict.

Speak Kindly

Undoubtedly there have been plenty of unkind words spoken in a fight; a lot of things that should never have been uttered. After apologizing, it is critical that we are intentional about speaking as many kind words as we did hurtful ones. There may be a need for silence, but it cannot last forever. We need to speak up with words of healing and affirmation. Words are a vital part of starting a conflict and just as important in overcoming one.

Be Affectionate

Every man just read the word “sex”. This may include sex, but that is only a part of it. A simple hug can speak volumes that words would never be able to explain. The touch of a hand or a head on the shoulder communicates loudly to our partner that we love them and care for them. The gentlest touch can resolve more tension than a thousand words. AT&T used to have a slogan “reach out and touch someone”. Being affectionate is critical to the resolution you need in your conflict.

None of us want to find ourselves in a major conflict, but we do. When you find yourself there, these three things will be invaluable in resolving the issue and moving on with life. I hope you don’t have to use them often, but when the time comes, I do hope you will.