You may have heard that the art of handling conflict is not about avoiding it at all costs but about learning to fight properly. In fact, conflict is unavoidable in a marriage, so it’s important to find the right tools that build on what you have and not ruin it. It’s vital that we learn to flex healthy communication muscles during conflict, according to Dr. Sanam Hafeez. “Poor communication is a significant factor, with couples struggling to express their needs, listen actively, and engage in open, constructive dialogue,” explained the neuropsychologist.
It is also important to be aware of the usual “hot zones” when it comes to conflict, like finances, power struggles, and emotional neglect. When it comes to money, everything from having different goals to who spends how much on what can become a problem, according to the doctor. And with power dynamics, the concerns might be related to who calls the shots when it comes to the relationship. Emotional neglect is about partners feeling “unsupported or neglected emotionally,” per Dr. Hafeez.
Psychologists suggest approaching conflict areas with inquisitiveness, empathy, kindness, respect, and a willingness to apologize when needed, instead of name-calling, belittling, and other unhealthy tools (via TIME). It is important to remember that toxic relationships can do damage to your body.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.