One of the biggest predictors of a successful marriage is whether a couple can work through conflict in a way that is satisfying to both.
Often I see that couples who have made attempts to resolve conflict and have found that one person seems to give in to the other more times than not. The one who seemingly “wins” the arguments feels good about things but what about the other person?
If one person feels that their voice is not being heard or respected, things begin to fall apart.
The unheard person may begin to withdraw or respond in passive aggressive ways.
Often when a couple comes in to see me, one person has already disengaged from the relationship.
It’s not impossible for a marriage to survive this situation but it does take time to heal it and change patterns.
All too often I hear one person in the marriage say they had no idea anything was wrong. They didn’t get into arguments with their spouse so they thought things were fine. What they didn’t realize is that their partner had already given up and stopped trying to be heard.
Disagreement in marriage is normal and healthy.
If two people feel safe enough to explore differing thoughts with one another and are able to feel that they are both valued and respected no matter the outcome, disagreement is healthy.
Perhaps a good task this week is to engage in a conversation with your spouse or partner to evaluate if you are resolving conflict in a way that is satisfying to both and if your disagreements are healthy.
Don’t wait and be caught off guard. Place importance on tending the garden of your relationship. Sometimes we don’t do this until it’s either too late or the marriage is put in a precarious position. Then we react in desperation to save what we then realize should have been the focus all along.
If you are struggling to feel heard in your marriage, please give us a call to schedule an appointment.