One of the main reasons that couples end up in therapy is conflict; conflict that cannot be resolved and escalates out of your control. It can be a minor disagreement that turns into WWIII in the living room, but by the time couples are in my Couples Expert Therapy offices, they often cannot remember what the fight was all about. They only know that a tone of voice, sharply spoken words or feelings of stress and anxiety led them to escalate that argument into a battle of epic proportions.
We know that relationship stress is a very real thing. Outside influences, job stress, financial worries and family problems can all contribute to this. Compromise and patient communication are two ways of dealing with this stress, but until couples learn to do this, they fight.
Does this sound familiar to you? Are you at your wit’s end with fighting with your partner? I’d like to urge you to step back and take a deeper look at what you’re dealing with and to try to look at it from a larger perspective. Fighting is a symptom of a deeper issue. It’s not necessarily that you’re fighting, even what you’re fighting about, it’s more about how you’re fighting.
I think fighting has a place in relationships. You sometimes need to air out all those feelings that you might be afraid to show when you’re not fighting. I want you to change the way you fight so that you’re fighting on the same side, not against one another. Make it about the issue, not making it personal. Don’t place blame. Pick your battles. Don’t fight against something you know you just can’t win. It’s futile. Why not compromise, and concede that point and avoid the fight altogether? After all, you’re supposed to be on the same team. It’s you and your partner against _________fill in the blank.
Don’t engage in activities that will tear you apart. Work to stay together. Fight for your relationship to succeed. When you begin to do this, you’ll see a shift in your interactions with each other. You’ll stop and think before you escalate that disagreement into an argument. You’ll look for ways to resolve the conflict without making it about who wins or loses. We all want to be right; you can be wrong and still come out feeling like you are right because you did the right thing by not continuing the fight. This is a new way of looking at living in harmony and peace with your partner. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never disagree, but it becomes more about keeping the peace than winning the argument.
When you and your partner become a team, and are united in where you direct your energies together, you will see things change. You’ll both compromise more and give more to each other as far as those smaller and less important issues. What about the big ones? You’ll work together to find a solution that works for both of you. You make it about the issue and not the person. You don’t place blame and point fingers, but talk your way around and through the subject all different ways until you find something that works for both of you.
Fight for your love, don’t fight your lover. Fight for your relationship, don’t fight your partner. The fight you absolutely cannot afford to lose is the fight for emotional closeness. Nothing else is more important to your relationship! You and your partner together are a formidable opponent. When your love and your resolve are strong, you can’t lose.