Will both parties in a relationship always act according to each other’s expectations?
The answer is obviously no.
It is difficult to imagine that there is never friction between two people in an intimate relationship, or that partners’ desires, opinions, and actions are always harmonious and free of conflict.
No matter how much two people care about each other and how harmonious they are, there will always be disagreements and arguments, and after a period of time together, there will be an increasing range of things to reconcile and more and more conflict.
Conflict between two partners in a relationship often manifests itself in the form of arguments, and the way both partners respond to conflict will either promote mutual affection or erode the trust and respect between them.
Arguing is an art, and if you can’t master the skills involved, the feelings of both partners in a relationship will be consumed in the arguments.
How to get the positive effects of fighting for both partners in a relationship
Interpersonal conflict occurs whenever an individual’s motives, goals, beliefs, opinions, or behaviors get in the way of others. Conflict arises from differences, i.e., it may manifest itself as a momentary emotion or as a lasting belief and personality. People always differ from each other in many ways. But we prefer to define conflict here as active interference with others: conflict occurs when an individual’s desires or actions actually hinder or prevent others.
1. Make it clear that arguments are inevitable
Any two people will have differences in emotions and preferences, both large and small. Inevitably, the goals and behaviors of both partners will be intermittently opposed. For example, even if both partners are very outgoing and social people, there may come a time when one partner may not continue in the old way of interacting with people because of work or other reasons, and the other partner will be disappointed.
Conflicts are inevitable because there are certain tensions woven into intimate relationships, and sooner or later they will trigger tensions on both sides. When people engage in intimate relationships, they often experience opposing and unifying motivations. These motivations are never all satisfied, because they sometimes contradict each other. Each couple may oscillate between opposing goal pursuits, and occasional conflicts between their dominant personal motivations are inevitable.
2. Understand the factors that influence the frequency of arguments
(1) Personality. People with high neuroticism are more likely to be impulsive and angry, and to have more arguments with others than those with low neuroticism. In contrast, people who are high in easygoingness are gentle and kind, cooperative, and usually easy to get along with; they may have few interpersonal conflicts because they are prone to compromise, and if an interpersonal conflict occurs, they are more able to respond constructively than people who are low in easygoingness.
(2) Attachment type. Attachment theory was mentioned earlier and can be used here. Among them, high apprehension outcasts generally worry excessively about their partners leaving them and they perceive more conflict in intimate relationships (probably because they nervously anticipate the worst possible outcome), while safer partners do not. In addition, when conflict occurs, they perceive it to be more damaging to the intimate relationship than the partner perceives. Attachment anxiety obviously leads people to perceive dangers and threats that do not exist, yet more seriously, their apprehensions gradually lead to the emergence of arguments and tensions they fear.
(3) Life stage. Young couples are still unqualified, and most conflicts are related to their current life plans and relationships; the two main sources of conflict for middle-aged couples are children and money; while older couples in their 60s disagree much less on many sensitive issues and have calmer relationships than middle-aged couples.
(4) Similarity. Conflict originates from inconsistency, so it is not surprising that the less similar lovers are, the more conflict they experience. This pattern continues after people get married; couples with similar tastes and expectations experience less conflict and are happier in their marriages than those who have little in common. Indeed, those who insist that “opposites attract” may be in for some big lessons; as long as they live with people who are significantly different, opposites will increase friction and not make for a smooth relationship.
What to do better when an argument occurs
1. Express it precisely
Those who criticize their partner’s personality and character are belittling their partner, which is often petty and makes minor issues look like serious, unresolvable difficulties. At this point, communication between partners becomes wise and accurate if both partners can point out the specific behavior that angers us in as clear, detailed and specific a way as possible. This approach is behavior description, which not only tells the partner what he or she is thinking, but also focuses the conversation on the pending, individual behavior, which is easier to change than personality.
For example, we should express our feelings in the first person, with first-person sentences beginning with “I” and then describing our emotional reactions, which drives us to identify our emotions and is beneficial to both partners. Thus, we can say “I’m feeling very angry right now” instead of “You’re pissing me off.
2. Be polite and calm
It is very beneficial for partners to resolve conflicts in the early stages of an argument, but when the conflict escalates, it is not easy to deal with. Once people become angry, the mind simply can not think of what techniques to use. It is difficult to express feelings in the first person when you are in the state of mind of “hating your partner, wanting revenge, feeling your heart sting and wanting to fight back”.
Therefore, it is a valuable skill to keep your head when you are angered by your partner and to calm down when you start to get angry. If you interpret anger as just another way of thinking about the problem, your communication will be better. Of course, it is difficult for people to stay calm and collected when they are provoked. So whenever possible, you should treat each other with courtesy beforehand with your partner, which is a good way to reduce conflict. You may be willing to talk with your partner regularly about some small conflicts in the day, then there will be no accumulation of problems, and always communicate, always deal with small problems, will make you more relaxed and happy to get along.
3. Active listening
In an argument, we have to learn to receive information from others: the first is to accurately understand the meaning expressed by the other party’s words, and the second is to convey concern and understanding to the other party. These two tasks can be accomplished by repeating the received information, i.e., repeating the other person’s meaning in his or her own words, so that the transmitter of the information has the opportunity to affirm that that is what he or she wants to say.
4. The power of respect and validation
Turning an argument into good communication, consciously trying to deliver clear, direct messages, listening carefully, remaining polite and restrained even when there is an argument, and so on. But the most critical element is to clearly demonstrate our concern and respect for our partner’s point of view. We also expect to receive such care and respect from our intimate partners. If people perceive that their partners do not respect them, they become bitter and resentful. Therefore, acknowledgement of your partner, that is, acknowledging the validity of their viewpoint and expressing respect for their position, is always a key concern in intimate interactions. The matter of acknowledgement does not require that you and your partner share the same views, but that you show appropriate respect and recognition for them even if they disagree with your partner’s views.
(1) For both partners in a relationship, fighting is inevitable, so we need to accept this behavior and take the initiative to understand the causes and influences of the quarrel between them.
(2) Since quarrels cannot be avoided, we need to actively deal with them, and when they occur, both partners should be precise, polite and calm, actively listen and show respect and recognition to each other.
— EOF —