How do you handle love fights? Is there a place for disagreement in love? Does the fact that you love someone mean there won’t be hard times? These are some issue that we want to address today as we deal with the next ingredient of a perfect love environment – CONFLICTS AND CONFRONTATIONS.Let me go ahead of myself to say that, the fact that you are in love doesn’t mean you won’t have seasons of disagreements and conflicts. In fact, it isn’t realistic to think so. There will be moments of intense and spirited debates in every relationship. The ability to manage love conflicts is one of the greatest predictors of relationship success. What is common to all failed relationships is their inability to handle conflicts well.
It is important to realize that there is a world of difference between disagreements and conflicts. Conflicts only emerge when our disagreements are not managed properly. Those who manage love disagreements well may never have to deal with conflicts in their relationship.
The root of all conflicts are our differences. Our differences, if not well managed become disagreements, and disagreements not properly managed become conflicts. When conflicts are not well managed they become a break up. I call this, the break up cycle. Most relationships go from differences to disagreements from disagreement to conflicts and from conflicts to break up. If your love succeeds, it will be because you developed the skills it takes to interrupt the break up cycle. That I hope to deal with tomorrow.
One of the most strategic things every lover must do is to accept that your partner will be different from you. You are both likely to have different backgrounds,ideologies,perspectives, even way of life. The ability to not see these differences as abnormal is the first step to conflict resolution. In other words every matured lover must realize the fact ;You don’t have to be like me, for me to like you. This tendency to only love and like those that are like us is the breeding ground of all love fights.
Just as the presence of conflicts doesn’t necessarily mean that things are going wrong in love, the absence of conflicts doesn’t necessary mean that things are going right. There is what I call the graveyard effect in love. It is when a frustrated couple have silently given up fighting with each other, as well as fighting for each other. There is a time in love, when not fighting with you,is a clue to the fact that your lover is no longer fighting for you. It is maturity to be able to discern the peace of relational life, from the peace of relational death.
Many marriages are dealing with this graveyard effect, such couples have been so hurt that they have given up on the possibility of making love work altogether, so many of them just silently stay on. I have heard many wives say that the only reason why they remain in their marriages is to preserve the welfare of their children. This is rather unfortunate. The beginning of dynamic conflict management is when you see the hidden value of conflicts in love.
- CONFLICTS ARE THE PROOF OF INTIMACY: Have you ever realized the fact that friction is a function of contact? Most relationships start up with each partner pretending to be the perfect lover. As time goes on, we begin to grow in intimacy and we kind of stop pretending and start being our real selves. It is at this point of exhibiting our true nature that conflicts begin. So conflicts are a sign that you are beginning to make contact with who your partner really is.
- CONFLICTS HELP BRING SUPPRESSED FEELINGS TO THE SURFACE OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS: Every lover has the tendency to suppress our true thoughts and feelings so as not to hurt our loved ones. However, during conflicts our desire to pass across our points far out weighs our desire not to hurt our lovers. It is at this point that we let the cat out of the bag. This is good for love because so long as our actual thoughts and feelings about issues are submerged, they can not be addressed. Conflict therefore allows our most difficult feelings flow to the surface of our relationship so that they can be productively addressed.
- CONFLICTS ENABLE YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE REALLY DEALING WITH IN LOVE: I once watched the blockbuster movie, THE MATRIX a few years ago. A statement was made when a bodyguard wanted to confirm Neo‘s identity by fighting him. He said and I quote “You can’t really know a person until you have fought them”. In other words, it is not enough to know how your lover “loves”. It is also important to know how your lover “fights” before settling for them. I have seen many excited prospective lovers in counseling glowing about who they intend to marry. They are often shocked when I ask them if they have ever fought? Most of them say never, he or she is the perfect partner. I often laugh and tell them to go and fight, after which they can come back for my recommendations. They usually leave my office shocked. The fact is you don’t actually know a person yet until you have had a disagreement and a conflict with them.
I believe you are matured enough to know am not advocating for physical fighting. However, every lover must understand the strategic value of conflicts in love and how to manage them. Tomorrow we will deal with some practical tips on how to fight the good fight of love.
THE GREATEST IS LOVE!!!
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