When arguments arise in a marriage, it’s crucial to navigate them with care to safeguard the bond between partners. Here are key practices to avoid when disagreements surface:

  • Avoid Harsh Beginnings: Starting an argument with negativity and criticism can be detrimental. While expressing complaints is natural, criticism attacks the core of your partner’s character, breeding contempt and toxicity within the relationship.
  • Beware of Contempt: Contempt, fueled by unresolved conflicts and negative perceptions, corrodes both the relationship and individual well-being. It fosters an environment where even innocuous comments from your partner are perceived as confrontational, fueling further conflict.
  • Break the Cycle of Defensiveness: When apologies are withheld and defensiveness prevails, couples are ensnared in a painful cycle of mutual blame. This can lead to disengagement or outright avoidance, eroding communication and intimacy.

To break free from this negative spiral, consider the following:

  • Release the Need to Be Right: Prioritize the health of the relationship over individual ego.
  • Acknowledge Contribution to Conflict: Accept personal responsibility for the role you play in disagreements.
  • Foster Genuine Understanding: Listen to your partner with empathy and a sincere desire to understand their perspective.
  • Avoid Taking Things Personally: Refrain from becoming defensive and focus instead on constructive dialogue.
  • Challenge Assumptions: Verify assumptions that may exacerbate misunderstandings.
  • Value the Relationship: Choose to prioritize the connection with your partner over the need to win arguments.

For couples caught in this cycle, seeking guidance through couples therapy or marriage counseling can offer a path to healing. These professional interventions provide tools to navigate communication effectively, understand each other’s needs, and resolve conflicts in a fair and respectful manner. Through concerted effort and a commitment to growth, couples can nurture their relationship and emerge stronger from moments of discord.

Dr.Baya Mebarek, Psy.D.,LMFT

www.sandiegofamilytherapy.net