Now, get your mind out of the gutter. It’s not what you think!
The answer actually has to do with one of my favorite parts of doing couples therapy–the moment when I get to give the couple a tidbit of seemingly-contradictory information which makes their faces go, “Wha?”I just finished a book entitled, “For Better,” in which the author takes all sorts of myths about love and researches them to see if they’re true. One particular myth is as follows: The happiest couples fight less often.
It’s simply not true. In study after study, researchers have found that the couples that rate themselves as experiencing moderate conflict report the MOST happiness in their relationships, and couples that experience the least amount of conflict report the LEAST happiness in their relationships (this is the part that usually surprises my couples).
Why would this be?
Well, researchers have found that, when partners keep their complaints inside and bottle them up, they turn into resentment. No surprise here…
But, if you can release your frustrations using constructive conflict techniques, you can increase the am0unt of communication with your partner and “let it out.”
So, the next time you’re fighting with your partner, give yourself a break! Your relationship isn’t doomed. In fact, it may just be the opposite!