The following is from Smart Marriages:
The number one predictor of divorce is the habitual avoidance of conflict.
What’s sad is the reason that we avoid conflict is because we believe it (confilct) causes divorce. It’s like the cartoon where the couple explains to the marriage counselor, “We never talk anymore. We figured out that’s when we do all our fighting.”
In the beginning, we avoid conflict because we are in love and we believe that “staying in love” is about agreeing, about NOT fighting. We’re afraid that if we disagree – or fight – we’ll run our marriage off into the ditch. Later, we avoid conflict because when we try to deal with our differences things get so out of hand and our fights so destructive and upsetting that we simply shut down. After a few bad blow-ups we become determined to avoid conflict at any cost.
Successful couples are those who know how to discuss their differences in ways that actually strengthen their relationship and improves intimacy. Successful couples know how to contain their disagreements – how to keep them from spilling over and contaminating the rest of their relationship. While it’s true that we don’t get married to handle conflict, if a couple doesn’t know how – or learn how – to fight or disagree successfully, they won’t be able to
do all the other things they got married to do. Put another way, it’s hard to take her out to the ball game if you’re not speaking. Couples are often so determined to avoid disagreements that they shut down – quit speaking.
Couples need to know the research and understand that every happy, successful couple has approximately ten areas of “incompatibility” or disagreement that they will never resolve. Instead, they learn how to manage the disagreements and live life “around” them – to love in spite of their areas of difference. Read more