How to avoid couple’s conflicts?
Love is an activity, not a passive affection; it is a continuous being, not a sudden start. Erich Fromm says in his book The Art of Love .
This definition is only an example of what we can understand by love, since there are many ways of understanding a phenomenon as complex as this and it is not easy to specify. In addition, each person will have his or her own particular vision of love according to their past experiences.
In view of this fact, however, it is clear that couple conflicts seem to be not uncommon , and although their origins may be diverse depending on each case, their consequences are usually very negative for most people who live them.
The origin of love
To understand the nature of love conflicts, we must first ask ourselves how love is born . In view of the overwhelming number of interpretations on the subject, here we will focus, above all, on an approach proper to current psychology through which we will answer the question of how love arises and evolves, why couple problems arise and what we can do to increase satisfaction with our relationship.
First of all we have to ask ourselves what it is that makes us suddenly fall in love with that person, why we can’t stop smiling when we think of him and everything around us seems to turn pink to . In those initial phases we are in a state of continuous activation, attentive to every sigh of the loved one and thinking continuously about them and everything that reminds us of them. This makes us feel like we are in a cloud of perpetual happiness.
Well, we can divide that activation we experience in the infatuation stage into two types.
1.The biological root
On the one hand, we feel a great physiological activation due to the impulse of diverse chemical substances that our organism produces and that could well be called happiness drugs, since diverse studies reveal that being madly in love activates the same areas of the brain as cocaine addiction .
Some of these substances are: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, estrogen and testosterone, each with a specific function in love.
2. The cognitive and emotional part
On the other hand, there is also a cognitive-emotional activation . That is to say, obsessive thoughts of the type: I like her, I love her, I love her, and various feelings such as interest and fear of rejection are produced at this stage.
This aspect of falling in love, however, technically also belongs to the realm of the biological, since what happens in it is due to physical and chemical processes. However, it is easier to describe it in psychological terms.
How do you deal with the problem of couple’s conflicts?
This initial phase of the crush wears off over the months. This means that after a few years it is no longer as obsessive a love as it was at the beginning, which is completely adaptive, because otherwise we would not be able to take care of our children or attend to our responsibilities by having our partner in mind 24 hours a day, without worrying about anything else.
The love that appears after this phase is a love that is linked to an increase in the degree of long-term commitment . This phase of falling in love has a strong cultural component and is affected by the uses and customs of the area in which it is lived, but also by the daily habits of the members of the couple and the commitments and contracts that they establish between them. It is, let’s say, a more relaxed emotion and not worse than the previous one.
The confrontation stage?
It is in this second stage where couple conflicts tend to emerge more easily .
Many times, the germ of these problems is found in certain preconceived ideas that people have about relationships that are totally irrational. For example:
1. “Love is a feeling that is born or dies without us being able to do anything about it. No matter what we do.” This belief can be fought from the point of view that love is not something that comes and goes by magic, but that it is something that we ourselves build day by day with each of our actions .
2. “Opposite characters attract each other”.On the contrary, there are studies that indicate that the similarity between the members of the couple is a predictor of success for the couple .
3. “If you love me you must accept me as I am, without trying to change me. It is clear that when we fall in love with someone we fall in love with the person they are at that moment, not the person we might become (otherwise it would be problematic). However, e so does not mean that we cannot help our partner to improve as a person and file down those aspects of personality that do not please either of us.
4. “If he doesn’t take care of my needs it’s because he’s a selfish person”.If he doesn’t meet your needs it may be because of many things, such as that you have never told him what those needs are or that the other person has not learned to understand them. Believing that the other person must be there to provide what we need at all times only sets the stage for love conflicts to arise.
5. “For a couple to get along well, one must give up attending to one’s own needs and individuality”.This is not true and giving up our individuality (for example, abandoning our old friendships) is much more harmful than beneficial, both for the couple and for each individual.
6. “We should never argue”.On this subject we will also refer to what has been found in certain studies. These studies indicate that the couples who show the greatest satisfaction are not those who argue the least (since normally those who do not argue are because they keep things to themselves) and neither are those who argue excessively. The happiest ones are those that argue in the middle.
7. “Living together means sharing absolutely every aspect of our lives”.Here we refer again to the fact that it is necessary for both members of the couple to maintain their individuality . For example, it is not necessary that both have identical hobbies: on Saturday mornings he can go to martial arts class and while she goes to yoga class, or vice versa.
Extra keys to keep crises at bay
The above are just some of the many irrational ideas you may have about what a couple should be and which hinder the normal course of a couple.
But besides banishing these myths, there are many more things we can do to maintain love and not fall into the continuous conflicts of a couple . These are details that seem to be very simple and common sense (and they really are), but that many times in everyday life are not so easy to identify and put into practice. Let’s see what they are.
1. Let there be dialogue
A fundamental element for a couple’s relationship to prosper properly is communication . We must use a precise vocabulary to express what we like and what we don’t like, as it is a mistake to wait for the other person to guess what we need.
To express these negative aspects that we do not like about our partner we can start by saying something positive first , continue by asking very specifically what the problem is and express our feelings about it, admitting our role in the problem. In this way, reaching an agreement will be easier.
2. Externalising love
It is also important to give and ask for demonstrations of affection . Normally, as time goes by, we tend to think that our partner already knows that we love her, but apart from showing it on a daily basis, it is elementary to express it in words: to say “I love you”.
3. Change of scenery
Some couple’s conflicts are the result of the embodiment of dynamics and routines that are harmful to both members of the couple, such as a bad management of the time available to devote to the couple .
Therefore, another thing that helps to increase satisfaction is to escape from routine by making room for leisure activities, both as a couple to increase complicity and separately to maintain the rest of social relationships and not lose our individuality.
Fundamentally we can say that love relationships always require attention and care , not only in the initial phases when it is easier due to the intense physiological, cognitive and emotional activation that we have mentioned at the beginning. But if we know how to take proper care of the aspects mentioned here and those that the couple considers most relevant, the happiness we will obtain will greatly exceed the effort invested in it.