Every relationship gets through conflict at some point. It is a normal and part of any relationship that is getting established, and it is healthy too. How a couple fights can vary based on the personalities of the individuals involved, the severity of the issue and how comfortable the couple is communicating with each other. But how do you save a relationship when love flies out the window during a conflict?
I realized in some of my interactions with married couples, that the ones who fight (in a healthy way) tend to have stronger relationships and are in it for the long run. The couples who don’t fight, and rather deny the conflict that exists or push it aside, are the ones who tend to bear deep-seated resentment which will damage the foundation of their relationship.
I was in a conversation with a man the other day and he had this to say.
“My wife and I were married a few months ago, but the honeymoon is definitely over. We’ve been fighting about everything lately: money, work, family, etc. Just the other day we both said we weren’t in love with each other anymore. We didn’t say the “d” word (divorce) but I feel like that might be next.”
It certainly is hard to hear you are not loved anymore. The question to ask when your partner makes such an outburst is “do they really mean it?”
Love evolves in a relationship and, though at some moments you may not feel “in love,” you most likely still do love your partner. If you are concerned about his/her well-being and will drop everything to be at his/her side if something serious like an illness or death of a family member occurs, then you still love each other.
We tend to get dramatic with our words to get our partner’s attention or “one-up” them. Admit it, sometimes you say things for the “shock” factor. At some point, you’ll find this isn’t helpful and you will both prefer to get to the point rather than insist on long drawn-out verbal punishments.
There are times we will love our partner as a friend rather than in a romantic way. Romance can be very overrated. Some of the most romantic people have been terribly unfaithful. For example French men, known for fawning over their women with gifts and compliments, are also known for having mistresses as an accepted part of the culture.
It is far better to develop a relationship of trust in which you are partners in life. The only way to do this is to invest time in your fights. Use that time constructively to work to the core of the issue. If you’re fighting about money, is it because you haven’t established an understanding of your individual attitude to savings and spending? Or you are fighting about work, which means you need to create more time for each other. Are you fighting about family or friends? Maybe you need to discuss expectations and give each other an “out” if certain situations are uncomfortable. Whatever the case may be, communication is a key way to save a relationship.
The time you invest in your fights will decrease as you start to resolve the core issues that are causing those fights. It is important to understand each others’ expectations and be respectful and supportive of feelings, goals and dreams for the future. Human beings are remarkable creatures, and we can choose to either grow together or grow apart.
To save a relationship, if you feel like the relationship really might be headed for a breakup, I would recommend you visit a counselor and find out the steps you must take. This may convince you things really aren’t as bad as they seem and will motivate you both to try to work things out.