Can Fighting Help Your Marriage? Research indicates 50% of first marriages end in divorce. Statistics for second marriages indicate 70% end the same way and 80% of third marriages go down the same path. You’d think people would have the benefit of knowing what to do and what kind of person to pick the second or third time around. This pattern of selecting the same type of person and doing the same type of behavior gets us the same results. Without acquiring and learning effective communication tools a key success to a marriage surviving is Not Avoiding Conflict. Fighting allot isn’t a good sign in and of itself, but, not fighting at all is the number one predictor of divorce as it is the habitual Avoidance of Conflict that gets couples stuck making for ongoing resentment and other negative feelings about the relationship.
As a Marriage Counselor I work with couples in Couples Counseling saying they never talk. Their reasoning for not talking is when they do talk they tend to fight. The irony in avoiding conflict with your spouse is more damaging to the relationship than not fighting at all. To show emotion shows you care on some level. Without it you have apathy. When couples don’t fight they indirectly say they don’t care about the relationship enough to talk about what bothers them. These are the couples who sit in my office and have very little to say in session. Their verbal limitation in dialogue with each other makes it difficult to have a productive therapy session. I can imagine what it looks like at home with each other if they can’t even talk while in the presence of a third party. Communication deficits are not beneficial to developing emotional intimacy or resolving any conflicts that may exist in the relationship.
So next time you think about keeping your thoughts and feelings to yourself to avoid an argument think about the long term effects. Conflict Avoidants end up being resentful and frustrated people. They are also the couples who don’t have the intimacy needed for the “in love” feeling that couples who do risk being vulnerable feel. Stop being polite and start being more authentic. It’s ok to fight just learn how to fight appropriately expressing yourself to move towards a resolution that ideally satisfies both your needs.
Get the tools needed to be able to resolve conflict so that avoiding it doesn’t become a wall between you that can never be taken down. Couples Counseling can help if you or your spouse is Conflict Avoidant. Contact me at (858) 735-1139 for more information about fighting fair.