Relationship Myth #1 “Conflict is Bad”

Ninety percent of couples who come to see me seek marriage counseling in Raleigh, NC because they want to work on improving or recovering their communication skills. I guess you might think that improving your communication skills shouldn’t be that hard. All you have to do is learn helpful communications skills such as reflective listening, “I” statements or using a calm tone voice.

However, research shows that the majority of couples who have knowledge of communication skills fail to use them in real-life situations.

How is this possible?

Because those skills simply don’t last. We may be smart, reasonable, and even eager to learn new skills to improve our communication. Nevertheless, sooner or later, we return to old communication patterns, particularly when we are in the middle of an argument or fight.

Couples often mistakenly believe that if they love each other, arguments and conflicts should not exist. A lot of times I hear statements such as “We love each other. We are still in love. Aren’t we supposed to live without conflicts, at least for the first few years of our marriage?”

Guess what?

No, you are not.

Most of us tend to think that conflicts are something bad, something that should, by all means, be avoided if we want to live happily and peacefully. Since our childhood, we have bought into the myth that kind people don’t engage in conflicts. So misleading.

So, let me tell you something: a perfect relationship simply does not exist. People may spend years looking for one and never find it. So, don’t do that – it’s a pure waste of time and energy. Work on what you’ve got instead because relationships and marriage are hard work. They require much more effort and dedication than most of us think.

Therefore, don’t try to avoid arguments with your partner. Conflict is actually good if you know your cycle and how to repair after an argument.

What’s Good about Conflicts?

  1. Conflicts Can Help You Consider the Partner’s Perspective

If you approach conflict constructively and in a healthy way, it can cause you to think about both your and your partner’s perspective. Also, conflict can help you understand the differences and similarities between your attitudes, beliefs, and expectations. Furthermore, a constructively approached conflict provides the opportunity to talk honestly about your needs, thoughts, and emotions and causes you to consider your spouse’s needs and feelings as well while reflecting what makes you hold on your mindset so tightly.

  1. Conflicts Boost Honesty

How often do you find yourself omitting parts of the truth to your partner? The fear of conflicts often prevents us from being honest with ourselves and other people. However, conflicts often turn out to be a good honesty practice. Engaging in a conflict allows you to tell your partner what you think or how you feel. It enables you to practice talking about the things that are important to you honestly and openly.

  1. Conflicts can Help You Accept Each Other

Some conflicts simply cannot be resolved. For example, if you have fundamental opinion differences about the parenting styles, constant arguing isn’t going to change either of your viewpoints. So, instead of endless arguments, try to show respect for each other’s values, beliefs, and attitudes, even when you disagree.

Conflicts can help you accept the differences and allow each other to grow towards self-actualization while nurturing your unison.

  1. Conflicts Allow You to Dig Deep

During conflicts, our emotions are stormy and deep. Conflict requires you to take a deep look into your thoughts and feelings and reflect on them honestly. However, it is more important what happens when the dust settles after a fight with your S.O. Do you continue with offenses and disrespect, go for days ignoring each other or make room for mutual understanding and forgiveness? The aftermath of a conflict actually tells you a lot about the quality of your relationship.

  1. Conflict Can Help You Acknowledge Each Other’s Personality

Observing your partner’s reactions and behavior patterns in conflict situations can help better understand their personality and communication style. Moreover, conflicts can improve the understanding of your own personality and communication approach. This will allow you to adapt to each other’s personalities and appreciate the differences in the way you communicate.

Summary

No matter how hard to handle sometimes, conflicts are not necessarily a bad thing. Once you overcome your fear of conflicts, you’ll be able to approach disagreements confidentially, expressing your thought, emotions, needs, and worries in a respectful but assertive way. So, when arguing, try to be honest with yourself and with your partner. This is the only way for your relationship to thrive and your confidence to grow.

If you want to learn how to handle conflicts without avoiding them and to solidify your love, do not hesitate to call at (703)-347-3200 for your free of charge 15-min consultation and/or to schedule an appointment in my Wake Forest office or online.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Irina Baechle,LCSW is a founder, owner, and a licensed therapist at IrinaBaechleCounselingLLC. She specializes in helping distant couples and anxious singles build truly connected and meaningful relationships. She currently offers online and in-home counseling services to residents of Virginia and North Carolina (and most countries abroad). Click here to schedule your free 15 min consultation. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube for useful tips and resources.

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