Conflict is inevitable in human relationships, for a host of reasons too numerous to name. However, it is wise to watch your words and actions, because these are the usual triggers that lead to avoidable conflict. The emotional fallout that results, is often devastating with far reaching consequences. Couples need to look under the surface when tempers flare, find the source of frustration, and deal with the issues at that level. Men and women are very different, while men create friendships by doing things together, women on the other hand create their bonds by telling secrets and getting very personal about all aspects of their lives. Normally as a couple matures and adjusts to one another, the frequency of conflicts should lessen through the years of marriage.
Causes of Conflict in Relationships
There are at least 5 major causes of conflict in relationships. These are namely:
- Needs not been met
- Different expectations
- Violation of rights
- Personality conflicts
- Different family backgrounds
1- Needs not been met: If conflict arises over something that seems insignificant, before allowing tensions to escalate, look deeper! You may need to ask your partner “Is there something I have done to offend (or hurt) you? Usually you will discover a deeper issue that needs attention. Many times conflict arises because people’s needs are not been met. It could be that that a woman’s needs for affection, conversation, honesty, financial support and family commitment are not being met. It could also mean that a man’s needs for sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, an attractive spouse, domestic support and admiration are not being met.
2- Different expectations: Communication is the key to not just preventing but also mitigating conflict. Stop before reacting, communicate your views, and ask your loved one to share his or her perspective or outlook. Once you take the time to share your views regarding a given decision or problem, and make the effort to understand one another, this will often resolve the issue at stake. Men and women have radical differences in perspective. This must be taken into consideration in order to mitigate conflict.
3- Violation of rights: This is a major cause of conflict and crisis, in not just marriage but all human relationships. This is usually the single one trigger that unleashes war, with its attendant loss of life and destruction. All human beings, including husbands and wives have certain inalienable rights. Some of these include the right to life, the right to have food, the right to have shelter, the right to have clothing, the right to have education, the right to love and be loved in return, the right to own property (or possessions), the right to have security and the right to be heard (just to name a few). Many times trouble arises in relationships simply because one party denied the other the right to express themselves or be heard. This is a serious violation of a major right, with often incalculable consequences. Mutual respect for one another is the bottom line here. Never assume!!! You must try as much as possible to see the perspective of the love of your life and hear him or her out. Make a practice of talking through together. all decisions that affect the family or which impact on your relationship. This should be an inviolable rule for the success and health of a relationship.
4- Personality conflicts: Men and women have different personalities, this is even true, more so of a husband and wife, because of the intimate nature of the relationship they are in together. It is often said that “opposites attract in marriage” and this has been proven true by relationship experts. In some cases, the husband may be an introvert, while the wife may be an extrovert the exact opposite. These differing aspects of the various personality types, may lead to clashes if not well managed. Therefore, the way out is to find ways to meet each other halfway when your basic tendencies cause conflict. You must both give (shift ground and make concessions), do not expect your partner to be the only one to change.
5- Different family backgrounds: No two partners in a relationship come from the same family background, which automatically predisposes them to conflict. Everyone’s family background has a “family culture”. Family culture is the peculiar way of looking at life that we all imbibe from the environment we were raised in. The impact of family culture is often underestimated, and not fully appreciated. This area of family culture gives every single human being on the face of the earth their most basic instincts. Therefore, since no two families are alike, every marriage will have culture conflicts that must be worked through. You cannot afford to have the mentality that ‘my way is the right way “even though that may feel natural to you. The way out then, is for both parties to maturely adapt and give up some of those ways that offend or conflict with your spouse. Every man and woman is unique. Therefore, we must study, accept, adapt, learn from and even love those differences in each other.
You must learn to manage or mitigate these factors using the strategies prescribed above. It takes a lot commitment and hard work, but it pays tons of dividends, because doing this successfully is what enriches and sustains relationships in the long run.