Fighting in marriages
My sister and her husband never fight, while my brother and his wife fight all the time, but both couples seem happily married.  How is this possible?

By: Family - Relationships - 11/15/2018

Conflict itself isn't bad for relationships.  Disagreements are just part of living with someone else, and over time partners develop their own "conflict style." Some styles are so subtle, it seems the couple never fights, while others seem to combust easily.  There are 3 styles of conflict that work well for happy couples:

  • Validators are great at communicating feelings and opinions and talking through their problems.  These couples often share a lot of mutual respect and use compromise as a positive relationship tool.

  • Volatile couples tend to be explosive and heated when dealing with conflict, expressing both negative and positive emotions passionately.  The key to success in such relationships is that the positive has to greatly outweigh the negative in these exchanges.

  • Avoiders play down their problems and avoid disagreements.  They focus on the positive aspects of their relationship and can either ignore the negative parts or agree to disagree.

One style isn't better than another, but the key is finding the style that works for both partners.  In general, relationships are easiest when the conflict styles of both partners match.  If they don't, then a focused effort can help each person understand the other's preferred style.

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