Every couple has conflict. Couples who commonly clash, the conflict usually involves money, sex and kids.
For instance, one spouse is a saver, while the other is a spender. One partner wants to have more sex, while the other doesn’t. One partner thinks their child needs to have an early curfew and other restrictions, while the other is more carefree.
The key to a healthy relationship isn’t an absence of conflict or differences. It’s the way the conflict is managed by striving for a successful and mutually beneficial resolution.
Here’s how healthy couples do it.
Healthy couples address the conflict. Some partners shut down and give each other the silent treatment or avoid the problem in other ways. However, healthy couples are “willing to talk about what’s going on.”
Healthy couples see conflict as an opportunity. Conflict can be used as a means for a healthy couple to grow… And not to use conflict as a vehicle to disconnect or to create a power struggle. Conflict can be an opportunity to better understand each other. Conflict can allow each party a platform to better explain your own needs and values with the objective to resolve a mutually agreeable outcome or to create something new and exciting in the relationship.
Healthy couples value each other’s views. Healthy couples believe that each partner has a valid point of view, whether they agree with them or not. Healthy couples realise; “there are legitimate differences and they understand that they don’t live in each other’s pockets or do not have to conform to their partner’s point of view.”
Healthy couples consider their contribution to the conflict. Partners in healthy relationships accept they have a responsibility to each other and also understand the saying, “actions and consequences”. Healthy couples are usually willing to look at how they’re contributing to the problem and actively seek solutions.
Healthy couples fight fair. Unlike unhealthy couples, they don’t name-call, insult, curse or hit below the belt and don’t “bring up every problem that’s ever occurred or revisit the same issues from the past.” Instead, “they stick to the issue at hand and display a respectful, curious attitude.” Instead of being defensive and focusing on explaining themselves, they’re interested in what their partner has to say.
Healthy couples really listen. Couples should give each other their undivided attention. They don’t interrupt or make remarks such as “That’s not right” or “What a stupid idea? Or attempt to digress from the topic at hand. Rather, healthy couples are prepared to engage with their partner’s and listen… And listen carefully while also acknowledging their point of view.
Healthy couples kiss and makeup. Healthy couples never try and leave a dispute unresolved, typically, after an argument, healthy couples end up feeling supported, heard and understood. It’s critically important for healthy couples to apologise to each other or say something like “I love you. We’re in this together,”
Our team at Relationship Counselling in Melbourne will strive to break down barriers so we can identify the core issues and problems underpinning your relationship and begin to utilise tailored approaches, treatments and therapies to begin the process reconnecting you and your partner. Call us 1300 967 734
Reviewed by Greg Redmond, Director, Counselling In Melbourne, November 2017
Our blog is for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help with an emotional or behavioural problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional