How Fighting Fair Can Lead to Greater Passion Why sticking to the issue and not hitting below the belt in disputes can actually help fuel passion for one another. BY WENDY STRGAR
Fighting the right way can bring some passion back into the relationship instead of tearing it apart.
Sometimes you just have to fight about your love. As humans, conflict is not only a natural outcome of marriages and family units, it is an essential part of building unity. Our differences make life more interesting, but learning to deal with them effectively and with love is a challenge for which we are often not well prepared. Learning to speak authentically, even if it creates conflict, is a basic skill to sustaining the happiness in ones marriage. Likewise, developing the insight to see through someone else's eyes and have disagreements that build instead of undermine our relationships require both courage and a real commitment to stay.
Conflicts generally share similar roots: we fight for power, freedom, belonging and sometimes for fun. I was introduced to these categories through my conflict resolution work with elementary and middle school children. While the urge to explore power and deal with issues of exclusion were often fodder for conflicts, I was astonished at how many kids owned up to creating conflict because it was entertaining. Actually, most conflicts are a mix of more than one of these categories and often are difficult to discern, even for adults. In many marriages, these issues morph into the five classic control issues around money, family (in-law) relationships, sex, housework and childcare.
Gender issues also affect our reactions to conflict. The male flight or fight response can create biological changes in moments and, given free reign, can clash dramatically with the more classic female response to conflict of tend or befriend. While there is huge variation in personality styles and family history of dealing with conflict, it is easy to see how couples easily fall into the habit of avoiding conflict at all costs. Sadly, they don't realize that the avoidance of the conflict only fuels internal resentment and cuts off any chance for authentic communicating. Making more and more room for conflict to live between you only makes less room for real connection.
Frank J. Page said that, "People hurt other people the most when they’re trying to kill their own pain, real or imagined." This quote summed up my early years of marriage, as our arguments were more often intended to hurt the other person than solve a difference.
All the rules you have ever heard about fair fighting should be basic coursework in middle school. Going after the issue and not attacking the other person because of your own pain is the mature response to conflict. The other kind only tears down what you spend months or years trying to build and almost certainly precludes coming to any agreement at all.
Perhaps the most exciting benefit from learning to have the courage to fight with your spouse is that honest and fair fights actually fuel your ability to express the fiery passion that makes intimacy sizzle. If you can’t disagree safely about day-to-day matters, it is pretty unlikely that either of you will feel safe allowing their aggressive sexual energies to show. Passionate sex happens between two people who aren’t hiding anything.
Besides all that, after 24 years of marriage, I can tell you this: all those couples that seemed so happy together because they never fought are most likely not together anymore.
Wendy Strgar is the founder of GoodCleanLove.com, which provides products and advice for sustainable love. If you have questions about products or toys send them in and Wendy will be happy to share her knowledge. When visiting the website, use coupon code NEWSITE08, to enjoy a new year 15 percent discount.