Conflict in Marriages
Conflict in Marriages
Dear Tacit,

My husband and I fight – we yell, we get loud, we don’t always listen to each other.  Does this mean we are doomed for divorce?

Signed: Emotionally Charged

Dear Emotionally Charged,

No – you and your husband are NOT doomed for divorce.  The act of fighting is not a bad thing – all couples fight and argue and disagree.  Conflict is inevitable.  And, sometimes, we yell when we fight – we get loud and we get stuck in our own heads trying to make our point.  We don’t always listen well in those moments.  That’s okay – it’s normal!  The act of yelling or fighting is not the problem – it is what is said/done during those fights that are warning signs of a healthy or unhealthy relationship.  Do you call each other names, swear at one another, put each other down?  Do you fight dirty and try to verbally hurt one another? Do you get physically violent or intimidating in any way – throw things, hit walls, slam your fist on a table?  Does your partner get scared or feel unsafe?  Is your partner’s reaction a trigger for you about something else entirely and does it cause an overreaction in you, to the fight you are having, as a result?  If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you need to consider some new strategies for conflict in your relationship or things might very well fall apart.

But, just having an emotional or passionate personality is not a problem in a relationship – as long as there is also a show of mutual respect that comes with it.  Make sure you fight fairly – respectfully – and do not engage in any low blows.  Take time outs to help you both calm down before you try to resolve the issue.  Learn how to truly listen and validate one another – we all need to feel that our partner “gets us”, without judgment, if we hope to truly resolve a relationship issue and not build up resentment over time.  Balance the yelling so it is definitely outweighed by the affection that you show for your partner – remember why you are together in the first place, and keep your focus on the things you truly like about him, so you can help yourself get back to being understanding and solution focused.  Connection is the desired outcome for every fight – not winning!  Whatever you say and do needs to bring you closer to your partner – not drive a wedge between you!

Take care!

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