The foolproof way to have a fight (DW#296)

Whether a relationship is strong, fulfilling and healthy (or not) depends to a significant amount, on the quality of the daily interactions between the people who form the relationship.

What happens during these interactions and communication exchanges on a day to day basis determines the emotional climate of the relationship over time which in turn determines whether or not the people in the relationship feel connected and happy.

Having positive interactions and good communication does not mean that the relationship is free of conflict. Relationship experts agree that to have a relationship free of (apparent) conflict is neither desirable nor healthy. In fact, many would argue that the presence of conflict is an opportunity to grow as an individual and for the relationship to become more intimate as well.

The conflict, does of course, need to be handled skillfully in order for this to happen.

Let’s take a common example from family life to understand this better. The following exchange between a couple is an excerpt from Mother Nurture: A Mother's Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships by Rick Hanson,‎ Jan Hanson and‎ Ricki Pollycove

"Sometimes talking about the simplest thing is like walking through a mine field. For example, imagine a father coming home from work to his wife who has been alone with their young child much of the day; they’ve grown so irritated with each other that this dialogue is fairly typical:

He: [walks through the door, sees some clutter, and mutters to himself] What a mess.

She: [stung at the criticism after having spent many selfless hours with their child] There you go, always criticizing when you first get home.

He: You’re so messy it drives me crazy.

She: I don’t see you lifting a finger to help.

He: [walks over and puts a toy on a shelf] There, I helped. Now are you happy?
She: [under her breath] Such a jerk.
He: Well, there you go again, losing control. You can’t talk without getting hysterical.
She: Your mother spoiled you rotten, but I don’t have to take your [nonsense].

He: [yelling] Once and for all, stop talking about my family. Or I’ve about had it!

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Where a conversation started on the wrong foot and before you knew it, you were into a full blown argument or a fight?

Before we discuss what each of them could have done differently for the rest of this week, can you spot decision points in this conversation that could have turned it around?

Join our blog!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.