I was asked in a recent television interview about helping couples manage conflict. Astutely, the interviewer commented on the challenges of bringing two people together from different families, different backgrounds and that ultimately hold different ideas. She asked the question that many of us fight over in our relationship: WHO WINS???
You would be amazed at how many times I’ve sat in a therapy session with a couple where each person vehemently defends their position and places blame on their partner for the marital discord. After passionately stating their case, partners will turn to me as if my role is to judge the winner of this particular battle. You know, we don’t do that, right? That’s probably 101 of couple’s therapy: never take sides. So how do I respond? With a question, of course:
Do you want your relationship, or do you want to be right?
If you are constantly fighting to be “right”, you are probably going to lose out on your relationship. Did you know that over 80 % of the issues that couples fight about might always remain disagreements? More importantly, disagreements do not equate to marital dissatisfaction. Loss of secure attachment in a relationship is what ultimately determines marital distress. Couples can get so caught up in winning the fight, that they overlook the fact that with each “win”, they further the loss of intimacy and connection with the most important person in their life.
Choosing your relationship does not mean that you keep quiet and hide your feelings from your partner. On the contrary: open communication is critical to intimacy. Keep in mind that it is still your responsibility (unless you’re married to a mind reader) to express your needs, ideas, feelings and boundaries. My point is try not to get bent out of shape if your partner disagrees; differences of opinion are healthy and natural.
Hugs & Kisses (XOXO)
Choosing your relationship, despite differences in opinions, ideas or preferences, fosters intimacy. Emotional intimacy is the foundation for secure attachment. Couples that feel securely attached report the ability to be more independent, take greater risks as individuals and experience a deeper sense of joy. Secure attachment also reduces stress, illness, depression and anxiety. The best part about intimacy is that physical touch, such as a hug or a kiss, releases Dopamine and Oxytocin (feel-good hormones). So stop fighting, and get to the making up already! Your mind and your body will thank you!
To see the full television interview, please click here: