Arguing in a relationship is normal, but sometimes petty arguments turn into chronic conflicts and resolving them on your own is difficult, if not impossible.
When couples need help overcoming persistent conflict, they often turn to private therapy. Some of the goals of couples private therapy is to disarm conflicting verbal communication, and create empathy and understanding in the relationship.
A popular type of therapy is Gottman Method Couples Therapy, which is based on 40+ years of research and led to the development of tools for counselors to help couples and individuals, especially those with underlying issues and ongoing conflict. Certified Gottman Therapists are trained to help couples increase intimacy, respect and affection.
In this blog, I share the most common reasons couples fight.
The Five Causes of Conflict -:
- Inability to Listen -:
“In many relationships, poor communication is both a speaking and a listening problem,” said Caralee Frederic, a licensed clinical social worker and Certified Gottman Therapist. “Too often in marriage, we make assumptions and do not truly understand before rushing ahead with our response.”
Partners (willingly or unwillingly) are not ready to listen to each other. This becomes a communication barrier between the two of them. Often, not listening to a partner makes him or her feel rejected and the distance between them widens.
- Uncontrolled Anger -:
Aggressive behavior can be very destructive. There are different types of angry exchanges in a relationship.
In an August 2019 “Psychology Today,” clinical psychologist Randi Gunther, Ph.D., described angry behavior as snapping, nitpicking, slow burn and eruption, and rapid-fire extermination.
“Once partners are in an angry interaction, they rapidly go from friends to adversaries and cannot see beyond each of their own emotional survivals,” Gunther wrote.
Seek a therapist to help you manage your anger, as it can lead to irreparable damage.
- Chores -:
With nearly 70 percent of mothers and 96 percent of fathers working outside the home, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics report, managing the household chores is often a point of contention.
Divide the chore into chunks and assign a particular task to each member of the family. Creating chores charts and developing a “team” mentality will eliminate bickering and keep the family organized. Sharing tasks will reduce stress and confrontations.
However, therapists say the intensity of the frustration over chores are usually disproportionate to the situation. In other words, couples often times will have full blown fights over simple things like washing the dishes.
If this is the case, then there are underlying issues such as: power and control, social inequality, neglect, or emotional disorders like depression. Seeking professional help can identify and resolve those issues.
- Competition -:
Marriage is not a competition, it’s about togetherness, but many people make the mistake of falling into the competition trap. They want to prove their spouse is wrong in any condition.
Other signs that you are in a competition rather than a partnership:
o sabotaging your partner’s efforts,
o “one upping” the other,
o saying “that’s stupid” whenever your partner wants to do something,
o boasting that others people find you attractive, or
o wanting to earn more than your partner.
The feeling of competitiveness is never good for a long-lasting relationship. Try either couples or individual Gottman private therapy, to help you decipher your relationship.
- Addiction to cell phones and devices -:
Cell phones are the best way to stay connected with people, but many users become pathologically attached to them and their real-life relationships become void.
The rise in phone addictions have led to new terminologies, according to a Healthline article written in October 2019:
o nomophobia (fear of going without your phone),
o textaphrenia (fear that you cannot send or receive texts) and
o phantom vibrations (the feeling that your phone is alerting you when it really isn’t).
While the mental health community has not come to an agreement on recognizing excessive cell phone as a behavior addiction, you and your partner will want to seek help from an addiction therapist if either of you experience:
o loss of control,
o difficulty limiting use,
o a growing tolerance (need to engage in the behavior more to get the same feeling), severe negative consequences, or
o withdrawal or relapse.
One quick way to see if your relationship is facing a cell phone addiction: Is your cell phone disturbing your romantic moments and weakening your bond?
Many times, the conflicts described here lead to negative comparisons about your partner. You may think, “I could do better.” When you develop this pattern of thinking, you are nurturing resentment about what you imagine you could have and minimize your partner’s positive qualities.
Although relationships are not perfect all the time, negative comparison is the seed planted for betrayal. Be vigilant and watchful of these common conflicts. Identify, discuss and manage them.
Sunny Skousen’s aim as a Professional Content Curator is to engage and influence her audience with thoughtful and research-based blogs. She specializes in writing about Couples Therapy, Family Therapy, Faith-Based Counseling, Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Grief/Loss and Trauma, and more!