A GOOD RELATIONSHIP STARTS WITH GOOD COMMUNICATION.
Couples argue. They fight and disagree. Life throws numerous, inevitable stressors their way that can divide the relationship and position each individual against each other. Arguments have a tendency to become irrational, emotional, and focused on throwing blame at each other.
Next time you find yourself in a heated conversation with your partner, ask yourself: “Are we fighting against each other or against the problem?”.
Alex and Sam are arguing about finances. Alex believes each penny should be allocated for in the budget, while saving for retirement, vacations, and children’s education. Sam has a more relaxed approach, wanting to have more flexibility in spending decisions. The argument quickly becomes each partner defending their position on finances and attempting to convince their partner why their belief is superior. Suddenly, the content of the argument transforms into past hurts, wrongdoings, and irreversible differences among partners. The problem caused Alex and Sam to separate and lose sight of the beauty in their differences.
Alex and Sam could have avoided an emotionally exhausting and damaging argument if they caught themselves fighting against each other rather than against finances. They may have been able to have a rational, calmer conversation in which each partner voiced their opinions and concerns. The couple would have then had the opportunity to reach an agreement about finances that met both of their needs.
Warning Signs in Unhealthy Conflict Resolution
There are three elements present in an argument – partner A, partner B, and the problem. Some of the most common argument starters include finances, parenting, sex, and extended family. When fighting about these topics, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of partner A versus partner B with the problem in the middle.
Give your relationship the opportunity to thrive by asking yourself, “Are we fighting against each other or against the problem?” when you recognize these warning signs:
Elise GriggCounseling Intern