The question “why do couples fight?” is comparable in measure to “why is the sky blue?” Therapists get asked this question on a daily basis and the fact is, there is no one size fits all answer, besides “because they do!” Couples can fight for numerous reasons from poor communication skills, lack of trust, differing opinions, to those purely enjoying the act of arguing.
Instead of asking why arguments are occurring, couples can instead choose to examine how to stop the conflict, no matter the reason. Here are 4 ways to stop conflict in a marriage:
Agree there are no winners or losers.
We are raised to compare and compete from a young age in school, sports and extracurricular activities. Thus, it is not surprising as grownups we take this need to win home with us. Many of us have heated, volatile arguments that once subject is removed, basically consists of which partner is right and which partner is wrong. The difference between happy couples and unhappy couples can usually be broken down into 2 camps: those who compromise and those who let their ego rule the roust.
Focus on the positives.
Treasure what you have and focus on it. Every relationship has negative issues, events, feelings, etc. and those negative measures are necessary in order for couples to grow and learn from their mistakes and shortcomings. The important thing is to have balance. According to Dr. John Gottman, a highly respected couples’ therapist and researcher, couples need a ratio of 5:1 positive to negative interactions to feel their relationship is solid. If you tend to be a more glass half empty kind of person there are techniques to up your positivity, such as gratitude logs and positive daily affirmations.
Date your spouse.
Remember what attracted you to each other and why you chose your partner to “walk down the aisle with”. It may seem difficult to remember, but something made you chose them. Reconnect and reminisce together about those “first” and “best” moments of your partnership while making new memories. No one says dating is supposed to end once you are married, in fact according to research it is imperative dating continues to strengthen and keep the love alive.
At times of conflict, treat your partner as you would a coworker or acquaintance.
Many of us are at fault for treating others nicer than our loved ones and using our feelings over our common sense. Make a conscious effort to remember and utilize this visualization during your next tiff, you might find yourself catching yourself before you react out of emotion.
Remember not only did you chose your spouse, but they also chose you. Conflict is inevitable, but how you handle it is up to you. Next time you are battling it out with your spouse, contemplate “is this what I really want?” If the answer is no, then only you can make the decision to change things.