How To Resolve Conflict and Keep Your Love Alive, Part 1

March 18, 2015 by

Here at Bend Oregon marriage counseling we assist couples on a daily basis to resolve conflict. The #1 reason that couples seek help is because they have been fighting. A corollary of that is couples stop talking to each other for fear of conflict and become distant, thus losing their connection. Research shows that couples that divorce in the first five to seven years do so because they are fighting. After being together ten years or more couples divorce because they have grown distant.

Of course you weren’t fighting or distant at the beginning of your relationship. It is more likely that you were naturally curious and empathic toward one another due to the novelty and the attraction hormones that your bodies produced when we first met. When differences arise you either didn’t see them or thought her strong opinions or his sense of adventure was great. But, after committing or marrying and moving in together these same traits can create conflict. This is part of the biology of attraction. When we find a partner and commit our brain automatically decides we don’t need all those hormones. So, your brain falls back to set point and now there are things about your partner that frustrate you.

It is not that you are with the wrong person, as our culture would have you believe. Your partner is a different person than you and you both will have a learning curve to manage the misunderstandings that arise. Happy couples have conflict occasionally. They became good at repairing their disconnection quickly. They also have built up resilience due to putting lots of deposits in their relationship savings account and can withstand a withdrawal from that account and thus repair more easily.

John Gottman PhD, the famous research expert indicates that repair is the #1 factor in happy, successful marriages. The cultural myth is that happy couples never fight.

A couple that does not fight or have conflicts is thought of as a happy couple. This is often not the case. Neither partner wants conflict, and so never resolves problems. These unprocessed differences build up and can ultimately lead to a lack of passion in the relationship. These couples describe themselves as ‘roommates’ and don’t know how to be lovers.

In Imago Relationship Therapy and here at Bend marriage counseling we think conflict is a good thing. Learning how to resolve conflict leads to a becoming better companion. Stay tuned for the next few blogs to learn how to resolve conflict and build your own rock solid relationship that will make your love last.

Contact Tim Higdon MS LPC to find out how these tools can work for you and your relationship