This couple walks into my office they sit down and proudly tell me they never argue. For some reason, they think this has been good for their relationship.
They then tell me they have become more friends than lovers, which is what happens to many couples who don’t argue.
What I see in their case is low energy and an inability to be emotionally honest with each other.
There is a belief out there that conflict and arguments are bad for relationships.
The passionate difference of opinion and thinking of two people isn’t what’s bad. What’s bad is the way so many couples do it.
Two people are always going to experience the same situations differently and sometimes this will result in a difference of opinion/perspective and meaning which is normal.
What doesn’t work is when the couple uses their differences as a weapon against each other and the relationship.
The goal for any couple is to create an outcome which is a win-win for both people, remember they are supposed to love each other and be on the same team.
Sadly the goal for many is to win the battle and when there is a winner that means there is a loser. If one person on the same team loses then naturally the team loses yet very few naturally see this problem.
If couples realised they were a team and instead of battling each other and trying to be right, they’ll both give themselves an opportunity to hear what is really going on from their partners perspective.
If this new understanding happened they could support their partner rather than become their judge (BTW judging isn’t loving).
Seeing the world from your partners perspective is the key to open communication and building respect.
Most couples are practising a loss of respect, loss of connection due to the way they argue and this will kill their connection.
In many cases, one person exploding is going to create either an equal force (two people exploding) or the opposite energy (one explodes the other withdraws self-numbs) which only makes the situation worse for the exploding person.
In some cases, individuals have an upbringing that creates their pattern. A child exposed to constant conflict is going to adopt that pattern as an adult.
A child that lives in an environment of no conflict is going to learn that “no conflict pattern”. Imagine what happens to this person when they marry someone who has learnt that emotional explosions are normal.
- So learnt patterns from childhood are one source of the couple’s problem.
- Another challenge is not hearing when the conflict is a cry for help.
- Conflict for some can be attached to stacked resentments. So what they are arguing about has nothing to do with the where the real pain is coming from.
- Some people use conflict as a low-grade way to control, influence or have power their partner.
- Some people further fuel conflict by defending themselves from their partner this creates an energy suggesting their partner is intentionally trying to hurt them, in most cases this assumption is not true.
I remember a business man telling me his wife clearly didn’t love him. She was visibly shocked.
I asked him why he felt this way. He said the way she spoke to him was awful.
I told him I could see the reason she is acting this way is because she is in love with you, but feels there is no connection so her upset is trying to wake you up to the pain she is in.
She wants reassurance that she is loved, but what she is getting is a shut-down man that is acting like he doesn’t care which is confirming her fear and now she is really scared.
By helping her see his perspective and what he needed and helping him understand hers means that these types of problems are met with understanding and care rather than a cycle of attacking and defending.
Far too many couples are acting as if their partner is trying to hurt them and this simply isn’t true.
When couples understand the patterns they are in and how they can bring real understanding and alignment it means two people have the ability to step up and support the relationship when their partner is struggling.
Conflict is normal because everyone is different.
Please Note: Getting this part of the relationship wrong will create a struggle with attraction and intimacy and so the concept of lovers will be replaced with identities like mum and dad or workers.
Relationships are not about winning, losing and compromising.
Understanding brings in trust and ability to positively influence each other.
Imagine if no matter what problem arises you both knew what to do to make each situation a win-win, how much impact would learning that new skill mean to your lives together?