Why Do Couples Fight? Fighting (relationship conflicts) can actually be healthy. Fighting demonstrates separateness and passion. I work with couples who claim they never fight and have many similarities yet do not feel the intimacy needed for that emotional connection. Over the years being polite and deferring, which I refer to as being “conflict avoidant” gets them to the state of feeling like roommates, and bad roommates at that.
In marriage, conflict is inevitable. Even the happiest couples argue. They argue over inadequate attention or affection, jealousy and infidelity, chores and responsibilities, control and dominance, future plans and money, children, in-laws, and sex to name a few.
And these arguments will continue over and over again if tools for communication aren’t acquired for being able to come to a consensus or compromise. As personal issues tend to trigger relationship issues it would be good to get yourself more grounded/(differentiated), the active ongoing process of a person being able to define their thoughts, their feelings, their wishes and their desires to one another and to be able to tolerate the partner doing the same thing. Which isn’t always easy.
differentiated couples having conversation despite conflict
Undifferentiated couple arguing shouting blaming each other of problem
When fighting fair know where your responsibility lies and try not point the finger. Your partner should do that, as well. Couples therapy pioneer, Ellen Bader, says “stay in your own skin” when managing fights. That’s basically what arguments consist of. Two perspectives trying to get one another to acknowledge the other. Both are correct but what do you do about it? Having a dialog (conversation), showing each other empathy for their feelings, and validating their point of view is the place to start. After which, a consensus or a compromise is to be executed.
Differentiated individuals are able to have such conversations. In helping people who ask the question…”should I stay or should I go?” I stress the importance of couples having the where with all to maintain their sense of self in their relationship. In relationships, the individual is independent in an interdependent union. Keeping good boundaries enables both to get their needs met and receive the harmony desired to live a happy and prosperous life together.
My book: Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In a Relationship helps you better understand about concentrating on yourself and becoming that differentiated (grounded) self.
For more information contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com