How to avoid couple conflicts?
"Love is an activity, not a passive affection; it is a continuous being, not a sudden start "says Erich Fromm in his book The art of Loving.
This definition is only an example of what we can understand by love, because there are many ways of understanding a phenomenon as complex as this one and it is not easy to specify. In addition, each person will have their particular vision of love according to their past experiences.
Given this fact, however, the fact arises that couple conflicts seem to be not uncommon , and although its origins can be diverse depending on each case, its consequences tend to be very negative for most of the people who live them.
The origin of love
To understand the nature of love conflicts, we must first ask ourselves how love is born . Given the overwhelming number of interpretations on the subject, here we are going to focus, above all, on an approach specific to current Psychology through which we will answer the question of how love arises and evolves, why couple's problems arise and why. What can we do to increase satisfaction with our relationship?
The first thing is to ask ourselves what is happening so that, suddenly, we are so taken with that person, Why can not we stop smiling when we think of her and everything around us seems to turn pink to . In these initial phases we are in a state of continuous activation, attentive to each sigh of the beloved person and continuously thinking about her and everything that reminds us of her person. That makes us feel like a cloud of perpetual happiness.
Well, we can divide that activation that we live in the stage of falling in love in two types.
1. The biological root
On the one hand, we feel a great physiological activation due to the impulse of various chemical substances that our body produces and that could well be called "happiness drugs", since several studies reveal that being madly in love activates the same areas of the brain as addiction to cocaine .
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 it", "I love her", "it is for me" and mixed feelings like interest and fear of rejection are produced at this stage.
This aspect of falling in love, however, also belongs technically 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 to approach the problem of couple conflicts?
This initial phase of falling in love is exhausted with the passing of months. This makes that over the years is no longer a love of such obsessive nature as at the beginning, which is completely adaptive, because otherwise we would not be able to take care of our children or meet our responsibilities to have 24 hours of the day to our partner in mind, without worrying about more things.
The love that appears after this phase is a love that is linked to the 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 they live, but also by the daily habits of the members of the couple and the commitments and "contracts" they establish between them . It is, let's say, a more relaxed emotion and not worse than the previous one.
The stage of confrontation?
It is in this second stage where couple conflicts arise 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 we can do anything to remedy it. It does not matter what we do. " This belief can be combated from the point of view that love is not something that comes and goes by magic art, but that it is something that we ourselves build day by day with each of our actions .
2. "Opposite characters attract". Unlike, there are studies that indicate that the similarity between the members of the couple is a predictor of success for this .
3. "If you love me you must accept me as I am, without trying to change." It is clear that when we fall in love with someone we fall in love with the person that is at that moment, not with the person that we could get to convert (otherwise it would be something problematic). However, eSo it does not mean that we can not help our partner to improve as a person and filing those aspects of the personality that do not please either of them.
4. "If he does not attend to my needs, it is because he is an egoist." If it does not meet your needs it can be for many things, for example that you have never told him what those needs are that you have or that the other person has not learned to understand them. Believing that the other person should be there to provide us with what we need at all times does nothing but prepare the ground for the emergence of love conflicts.
5. "For a couple to get along, we have to give up attending to their own needs and individuality". This is not true and renouncing 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". Regarding this issue we will also refer to what was found in certain studies. These indicate that the couples that show the most satisfaction are not those that least discuss (usually those who do not argue is because things are saved) and those who argue too much. The happiest are those who argue in their middle ground.
7. "Living together implies sharing absolutely all aspects of our life". Here we refer again to the fact that it is necessary that both members of the couple 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 go to yoga class, or vice versa.
Extra keys to keep crises at bay
The above are some of the many irrational ideas that can be around what a couple should be and that hinder the normal course of this.
But besides banishing these myths, there are many more things we can do to maintain love and not fall into the ongoing conflicts of couple . These are details that apparently seem very simple and common sense (and really are), but many times in the day to day are not so easy to identify and implement. Let's see what they are.
1. Let there be dialogue
A fundamental element for a relationship to prosper adequately is the communication . We must use a precise vocabulary to express what we like and what we do not, since it is a mistake to wait for the other person to guess what we need.
To manifest these negative aspects that we do not like about our partner we can start by saying something positive before , continue to pose in a very specific way 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. Externalize love
It is also important give and ask for demonstrations of affection . Normally with the passage of time we tend to think that our partner already knows that we love her, but apart from demonstrating it on a daily basis, it is essential to express it with words: to say "I love you".
3. Change of scenery
Some couple conflicts are the result of the incarnation of harmful dynamics and routines for both members of the couple, such as bad management of the time available to dedicate it to the couple .
For this reason, another of the things that helps to increase satisfaction is to escape 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 loving relationships always require attention and dedication , not only in the initial phases in which 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 properly take care of the aspects mentioned here and those that the couple considers most relevant, the happiness that we will obtain will greatly exceed the effort invested in it.