MARITAL CONFLICT AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH
What really happens when a couple is experiencing conflict and fighting in a relationship? Conflict is actually your friend and fighting is a paradoxical “invitation” to get your needs met. Through conflict growth is actually trying to happen. The message of conflict often is: “I have needs that are not met!” For example, I need to be seen/heard, I need to be myself within the marriage and still be loved and not judged.
When these needs are not met, we tend to get reactive and protect ourselves by being defensive and critical towards our partner. One partner’s criticism usually triggers the other’s defensive adaptations, and in the end emotions escalate and nothing gets resolved. This leaves both partners within the marriage feeling disconnected, alone, angry and sad.
Meet your marriage partner's needs
Conflict further prevents you from hearing your partner’s “heart”, his or her longing for connection, wholeness and aliveness. Conflict is an eschewed and unconscious effort at trying to tell your partner about your unmet needs and the pain it causes.
Marriage counselling provides a way out of this impasse by creating the right conditions and safety for growth to occur, enabling your heart’s longing to be heard. An attuned therapist is tuned in to the needs of the couple and sees conflict not as a sign that there is something wrong with the relationship or that you are incompatible, but rather that you are the perfect combination inviting each other to grow into wholeness.
Shifting your view about conflict as a gift towards growth, can bring a deeper experience of commitment, love and joy to the couple. Committed relationship is not about finding the right partner; it is about becoming the right partner.