Most couples think conflict is bad.
It’s bad to squabble or clash.
It’s bad to dissent, or dispute, or differ, or disagree.
Renowned couple’s therapist and author Dan Wile notes,”Intimacy comes from telling your partner the main things on your mind and hearing from your partner the main thing on his or her mind.”
In an intimate relationship, there are bound to be some collisions of opinion.
If you’re being honest and open and real, there have to be at last a few incompatible ideas, and emotional skirmishes, right?
Of course! Conflict should exist between two people sharing a connected life. It’s natural and healthy. Pretending that you’ve achieved some sort of mind-meld, or investing years suppressing your divergent views for the sake of harmony, may actually do more harm than good.
The key is conflict management, not conflict avoidance.
So, how do couples learn to manage conflict well?
Honestly, many of us just don’t know. We often find ourselves floundering and confused by conflict, steadily building walls of resentment before we realize that we need help.
There’s a better way. Couples counselling.
Couples counselling helps you and your partner develop an empathetic ear and interact compassionately.
Somewhere along the way, the disagreements between you eroded the empathy and compassion that tempers irritation and contemptuous thinking.
If you don’t know how to manage conflict, over time you lose the ability to hear your partner’s backstory, or acknowledge his or her best intentions.
Counselling can help you build a better set of communication skills:
- Learn to be less oppositional and more collaborative
- Learn to anticipate triggers and resist the urge to escalate tensions
- Learn to look for ways to create win-win situations
- Learn to interject a sense of appreciation and respect into difficult conversations
The process reminds you to ask more questions and jump to fewer conclusions:
Why does your partner’s view matter so much to him or her?
What do you hear that you actually agree on before you jump into a debate?
A therapist can help you dissect your communication to determine what’s working. Together, the three of you will gain ideas for conflicting more compassionately and productively.
Couples counselling can also help you and your partner effectively handle your history.
We all come to our relationships with baggage, and we often pick up a few more pieces in the course of our time together. When it all gets too heavy, we tend to drop it on each other’s toes, or lob it at each other when things get really tense.
A therapist can help you sift through your personal histories with your parents, and previous relationships, as well as those things in your relationship history that may underlie a lot of your conflict.
Couples counselling reveals ineffective communication patterns, and asks key questions.
What habits did you learn in the past that contribute to the way you aggressively go after your spouse, or passively retreat when conflicts arise? Can you identify the key unresolved issues, or hurtful past interactions, that fuel current arguments?
A couples therapist can help you navigate and mitigate the past, so that you can gain some clarity, disrupt unhealthy, unproductive interaction, and make lasting changes in the way you handle disagreements.
Couples counselling helps keep conflict in its place as a valuable, healthy way of negotiating a life together.
You and your partner want to be in a relationship that values both your views, and still maintains your core connection.
It’s okay to need help with that.
You needn’t wait until things get bad.
You and your partner can do this well.
Let’s get started right away.
Call Neil today on 07970 860 711 to arrange your first couples counselling session.