We fight all the time in our marriage. How do we break the cycle?
Being stuck in a cycle of conflict in your marriage can feel so hopeless. Constantly feeling on guard, overlooked, or misunderstood in your relationship has deleterious effects on mental health, well-being, and the overall happiness of the family. There is no shame in admitting that your relationship needs help, and seeking the guidance of a professional can be a critical factor in whether or not your relationship will start to thrive. Research has shown that couples who are thriving in their relationships have something in common: they seek help.
According to renowned psychologist Dr. John Gottman, couples who are struggling in their relationships often fail to communicate effectively and build a foundation of trust and mutual respect. This leads to a pattern of negative interactions that continues to escalate over time. On the other hand, couples who are thriving in their relationships have learned to communicate openly and honestly, express affection and admiration toward one another, and work together to overcome challenges. Patience, listening, and apologizing are some of these couples' top skills. These couples have learned to effectively manage conflict, rather than letting it consume their relationship.
Couples therapy is a safe place to learn how to fight fair and manage conflict.
To thrive in your relationship, it is crucial to recognize when it is time to seek help. Many high-conflict couples suffer from feelings of hopelessness and believe that their problems are just too much to overcome. However, seeking out the help of a couples therapist can provide you with invaluable tools and strategies to work through even the most challenging of issues.
One of the most important things that couples therapy can provide is a neutral yet supportive space to communicate and explore your feelings with one another. A couples therapist can provide guidance and help you and your partner to uncover underlying issues that may be contributing to your conflict. By providing a safe and supportive environment, your therapist can help you both to express your needs and concerns in a way that is constructive and respectful.
In addition to providing a safe space for communication, couples therapy can also teach you and your partner valuable skills for conflict resolution. By learning to communicate effectively and manage conflict healthily, you can break the pattern of negative interactions that may be undermining your relationship. These skills are not only valuable in the context of your relationship but can also be applied to other areas of your life, such as in the workplace or other personal relationships.
Where do we start?
If you are a high-conflict couple, seeking therapy sooner rather than later is crucial. Research has shown that the longer couples wait to seek therapy, the harder it is to turn things around. There may be a long road ahead toward discovering the marriage that you and your spouse want, but taking the first step today will set you down a path that could very well change your life for the better.
At Mission Psychology, a few of our clinicians offer couples therapy, some of whom are specifically trained for working with families and couples in these situations. If you'd like to learn more about couples therapy or schedule an initial appointment, please fill out our contact form and you'll hear from us soon.
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