As anyone who’s been in a relationship for more than a few days knows, conflicts between partners are unavoidable. They can crop up for any number of reasons. What happens in relationships when fights and disagreements over things outside of the relationship come up as they inevitably will? How do you speak your mind while respecting both your partner and relationship? Do you think it’s possible to agree to disagree?

In my experience, the ego is what separates us while the spirit unites. For example, being “right” around religion and politics is an ego-driven badge of honor that creates tension and separation. But when you can walk into a conversation or experience with an open mind knowing that differences create opportunities for growth and expansion, then your spirit is leading the way. And in those situations, you create the space for connection.”

Allowing ourselves room to be wrong makes us better listeners and observers. You’ll find yourself connecting with and sometimes embracing other people’s points-of-view rather than reactively judging and dismissing them from the get-go. I understand it’s not easy to do, but it is something to practice when you find yourself between a rock and a hard place with someone for which you care. And don’t forget that nothing says you have to agree or align in that way. I’ve matched plenty of democrats to republicans who are happily married. I see Jews and Christians, and a rainbow of religions making relationships and marriages work all of the time. I really believe it comes down to how you choose to show up in the partnership when you aren’t on the same page with your significant other. These are moments your partner will remember, and they have the potential to be a source of contention. When people are fighting, they typically see it as a “Me vs. You” thing. But a healthy couple frames it as a “Me and You vs. The Problem” thing. Pausing to explore the scenario through your partner’s POV is a great first step before engaging in any versions of dialogue or disagreement.

After your pause for perspective, if you’re still irritated, remind yourself that you are teammates and there is no competition for being right. Instead of worrying about blame, spend some of that valuable energy thinking through plausible solutions for the problem that respects you, your partner, and the relationship. Once you’ve taken those rational moments of mindfulness, then you’re ready to engage in a potentially uncomfortable yet respectful discussion rather than a fight. Be open to the possibility that the outcome might be simply to agree to disagree. I think in this day in age, compassion and understanding are what we are being called to do and if we can’t be compassionate with one another then what is the point of being in a relationship at all?