Uncontrolled conflict will kill a marriage. It will either result in partners feeling angry and resentful at one another, or hurt and afraid of each other. Of course, every marriage has conflict. If you don’t fight with your spouse now and then, chances are at least one of you isn’t being honest about your needs, opinions, and thoughts. No couple is going to agree on 100% of the issues in their marriage 100% of the time.
Here are the characteristics of uncontrolled conflict:
- Arguments usually begin with one partner blaming the other one
- Both partners are defensive about their behavior
- At least one of the partners uses biting, harsh personal attacks during the conflict
- Dredging up past offenses is usually a part of the fight
- Partners make claims about each other in broad generalities (e.g., “You never…” or “You always…”)
- One or both partners feels like they must “win” the argument — they must be “right.”
- Conflict usually ends with stonewalling, storming off, or retreating
- One or both partners feels like the issue is still unresolved at the end
So, is your relationship in uncontrolled conflict? If so, your relationship is either in trouble now, or is on its way to trouble very soon. In a future post, I’ll be laying out a formula for working to transform your conflicts into something healthier and more manageable over the long-term.
In the meantime, avoiding conflict is probably the best option to keep you from injuring each other further.