All couples have disagreements and conflict. It is part of the reality of two adults sharing lives together. If a couple comes to see me and says that they don't have any conflict, I worry about the state of their relationship - if they are growing distant from each other.
Couples need to have space to sort out problems and grievances that is in line with supporting and strengthening the relationship.
What follows is what I like to tell couples about conflict.
Repair is really important in relationships. According to Dr. Gottman, repair after a fight is one of the most important things that "master" couples do to maintain their relationship and get back to feeling better.
Repair means that you come back several hours or a day later and apologize. It doesn't matter so much what the apology looks like (because it may be a gesture or a hug) so long as it is done. As the receiving partner, accept the repair attempt.
If these ground rules are hard to follow in your relationship, consider coming to a couple's therapist to help moderate and communicate more effectively.
*photo from freedigitalphotos.net by smarnad
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