Fighting can be Good for Your Relationship

shutterstock_341429870There are those couples who seem to never fight. But rest assured, they do, just behind closed doors. Two people are whole worlds encapsulated in flesh. But when they come together in a relationship, as things progress, particularly if they begin living together, sooner or later conflicts arise. If they never do, then this is not a healthy relationship. For instance, take the couple where one person consistently capitulates to keep the other happy. The capitulator either has near non-existent self-esteem or their partner is a narcissist or a tyrant who has to constantly be placated in order to keep the peace. In a partnership with two are equal, each person’s ideas are valid. And so their differences have to be discussed, debated, and yes even fought over, for things to progress. Just like there is no such thing as a story without a conflict, there is no progress without disagreement. Otherwise, your relationship will remain stuck in time. It’ll become dull, ossify, and fossilize. After all, what is more of a turn on than our partner with that fiery look in their eye, passionately advocating for what they believe in?

When a person hides their feelings from the other, they get sublimated. But they are still there. Resentment builds up and sooner or later they will blow up. Or the person will slowly choke on their true self year after year until it sinks them into a quiet desperation and despair, for never having their point of view brought to the fore or their emotions recognized. There can be no intimacy if one does not trust one’s partner with one’s true opinion. That doesn’t mean one should support hashing things out in a damaging or hurtful manner. But each person should be heard and have their say. In a relationship of equals, both partners need to make their case, and then if no one’s is stronger, a negotiation worked out. The best kind are the ones where both people get what they want. But sometimes you have to dig to find out what that really is. You can easily make the case that we never really know our partner until we’ve seen all sides of them. Conflict and competition bring out the best in us. Just don’t be too competitive or play unfairly, or you may win the battle and lose your relationship.

Psychologists agree that a certain level of conflict is normal and healthy. The thing to concentrate on is how you fight. Do you scream at each other, break things, and slam doors? Or do you separate when things get heated? This is the best way. Give each other some space and time to cool down, and come back refreshed and ready to communicate. We really cannot dig into the deeper stuff hidden in our partner, or ourselves until we come across some kind of conflict. But not all are important. A large portion of arguments come from misunderstandings. But these too can be blessings in disguise. For when we begin to unravel how our partner understands things, we get a glimpse of how they see the world. We come to know them better. And when they listen calmly and patiently to how we understand things, they get a better notion of our worldview. So that understanding and closeness await any couple who can safely and positively negotiate a problem or even a crisis. But despair, decay, and even disintegration awaits any relationship that cannot successfully overcome obstacles. The moral of the story, become masters at communicating and overcoming conflict, and you will form a close, loving, and more blissful union.

Want to learn the best conflict resolution techniques? Pick a copy of, Everyday Relationships Resolving Conflicts in Your Personal and Work Life by Sheila Alson and M.A. Gayle Burnett

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