Couples in Conflict

Do you feel like you and your partner fight a lot? Not at all? Check out this definition of healthy conflict and see how you measure up.

Many couples wonder if they’re fighting too much or not enough. There are many pop psychology articles that make wild claims about fighting- you need to fight to be healthy, you should never fight before bed, fighting in front of kids is bad for them.

But most of that is not true, or at least not validated by science.

According to research by the Gottman Institute, 69% of conflict is not going to be resolved. Many conflicts are created by personality differences that don’t go away.

So how often you fight isn’t the most important thing. What matters is how you deal with conflict and how your conflict affects the relationship.

What does fighting mean for you and your partner? Your family of origin and the way they handled conflict informs what you think of about what it means to fight. Many couples who say they don’t fight really mean that they never yell- so for them, yelling defines a “fight” versus a “disagreement.” Take a moment to think about how you and your partner were taught about conflict in your family of origin and how you have followed or deliberately chosen not to continue those patterns.

If conflict is inevitable in relationship, couple’s therapy doesn’t mean helping you fight less. Instead, therapy helps you unpack your generational patterns of conflict and teach you ways to intentionally have conflict well.

What is a good conflict? Healthy conflict respects each person’s opinion and hears their values. At the end of the fight, your relationship is still strong. In the end, you’re still friends. You can hear and honor the other person’s stance even when you disagree. You are able to speak calmly about the conflict, not getting heated, accusatory, or shutting down. If you find yourself not able to keep calm, you can ask for a break and your partner respects your request.

Does this sound like the way you and your partner fight? If not, couple’s therapy can help you learn new skills to handle conflict well in order to maintain your relationship and allow each of you to thrive.

What is Prepare/Enrich?

Prepare/Enrich is an assessment tool to help couples and parents discover what their relationship needs to grow.

I am a certified Prepare/Enrich facilitator. I offer Prepare/Enrich (P/E) as a lower cost alternative to couple and family therapy.

Prepare/Enrich uses solid research into what makes a strong relationship and developed an assessment to show you your areas of strength and growth as a couple. The assessment is based on FACES, the Family Adaptation and Cohesion Evaluation Scale.

After our initial consultation, I’ll send you links to take the assessment at the Prepare/Enrich website. You’ll each take the test individually- the results will be much better if you don’t work together and if you feel like you can be honest about your answers.

After you take the assessment, I’ll get your results about each area- expectations, intimacy, chores, family, and more. During our sessions, we’ll go through each of these areas, focusing on areas of growth. With this system, you can expect to have 6-8 sessions together, each targeting needs indicated by your assessment results.

At the end, you’ll get your copy of the results along with practical suggestions to grow and develop your relationship. If you feel like you need more support based on your results, I also provide couple’s sessions using the Gottman method.

Ready to take the assessment or have other questions? Contact me today for a free 15 minute consultation or to schedule an appointment.