Why Conflict in Relationships is Actually a Good Sign
There’s a common misconception about what a healthy relationship look like, which is “fighting is bad.” A lot contributes to this stigma, and everyone has their own idea of what a picture perfect couple should look like. Some might think that fighting leads to no good in a relationship, but the myth buster is that healthy conflict can actually bring a couple closer together.
What is “healthy conflict”? & How to Work Through it:
It is completely natural for couples to have disagreements and how you approach that disagreement can lead to healthy conflict.
- Start with checking in with how you are feeling – if emotions are high and heated, it is okay to take some space and time to regulate.
- Do something with your body such as taking a walk can help move those emotions through you to bring you to a calmer state. When you are both ready to address the disagreement, keep in mind it is best to speak from your point of view. I-statements can help with this!
- State your feelings – what happened that made you feel that way, and what you desire to change. One of the most important components of healthy conflict is your ability to listen. It is common for each partner to prioritize getting their point across, but actively listening requires you to be present and focus on what your partner is saying.
The Benefits to Conflict in Relationships:
1. It honors each of you as an individual
One of the most beautiful things about relationships is that they are an intersection of two individuals. You enter a relationship with your own history, values and unique experiences. Having a disagreement allows you to explore and express who you are as an individual. You might fight about what activity you do for your weekly date night, maybe you’re sick of going to the movies each week, but you know your partner is a huge movie buff. Acknowledging your annoyance, and exploring where it comes from can help you express that you would like some date nights to include live music and why that is important to you.
2. You learn more about each other
You may know your partner really well, but you can be in a relationship with someone for 10 years and still not know everything about them! A fight about leaving dirty socks on the floor can help you discover you just want acknowledgement for keeping the house clean. Your partner can learn that feeling appreciated is important to you!
3. It provides an opportunity to strengthen your relationship
Healthy conflict moves you and your partner through a cycle that could leave you feeling more connected than before. The simple act of naming and expressing your feelings can provide relief. It also extends an invitation to be listened to. This allows each partner to practice their communication skills, which includes active listening. Moving through the cycle can leave each partner feeling understood and validated.
It is a delicate and sometimes messy dance to move through this cycle. Chances are you have done all the steps, and might need some help putting it all together. If you’re interested in some support, contact us to get started.