Many couples think that relationships are good if they don’t have conflict, but as a therapist, I couldn’t disagree more. Fighting with your husband is a sign that a couple is sharing how they feel and working to get their needs met. This is part of the foundation of a healthy relationship.
Of course, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to fight, but when a couple has conflict they have an opportunity to grow in their relationship. Couples will never see eye-to-eye all the time in their relationship, so it is good to learn how to fight fair. Here are some tips.
Avoiding conflict will only create more intense conflict down the road because of issues that build up over time. So if you fear conflict in your relationship, it’s important for you to know why it can be a good thing! Here are 4 reasons fighting with your husband is a good thing:
Avoiding conflict will only create more intense conflict down the road because of issues that build up over time.
1. It helps you express how you’re feeling.
Emotions build up if they aren’t processed well. I’ve worked with many people who have swept so much under the rug, they have walls of resentment that go years back. Not only is it unhealthy for an individual to hold feelings in, but it is very unhealthy for your relationship. When you keep your feelings in, you aren’t being honest with your spouse. A lack of honesty can cause major issues in a marriage. Here are 4 ways to break down walls in your marriage.
2. You get the chance to know something about your spouse.
Conflict is good because it will teach you something about your spouse. Think about it…when someone has a complaint, there is a need being expressed underneath. For example, if a husband is upset about too much spending, he is often expressing the need to have financial stability and the fear of what may happen if there is a financial crisis. When a wife is complaining about her husband spending too much time watching TV or at work, she is expressing the need for more quality time and connection in the marriage. Conflict in your marriage can teach you about your spouse’s needs.
3. If it’s done in a healthy way, it connects you.
Unhealthy conflict can cause a disconnect and a lot of pain, but healthy conflict can help you feel closer. Conflict doesn’t feel good when you are going through it, but it has the potential to when you come to a conclusion and truly understand each other. That’s why the concept of ‘make up sex’ exists. Once you’ve gone through the struggle, emotional intimacy grows. It’s only natural that physical intimacy comes next.
4. It forces you to refocus.
Since conflict teaches you about your spouse’s needs, it causes you to make a change and refocus your priorities. I have had numerous clients say, “He only listens when I get mad.” Why? Because he heard you and it caused him to change and refocus. Of course, conflict should not be the only change agent in your relationship, but it is one that has an impact.
So next time you start to avoid a disagreement and begin to sweep it under the rug, think again and remember that conflict in marriage can be a good thing.
What makes conflict so uncomfortable for you?
Teri Claassen is a Jesus follower, wife to Dan, mommy to one boy and one girl, a foster mom to kids in need, and a therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling in Tampa, FL.