When our relationships are in a healthy place, we lean towards our partner during difficulties or when we’re feeling vulnerable. Our partners are our haven from an all-too-often harsh world.
However, since this is real life, baggage accumulates. Our communication breaks down in the face of both traumas and daily minutia. We begin to guard ourselves because we’re human and even small differences can escalate into major conflict.
The conflict can be about one thing and stem from something else. We disagree about how to apologize, parent, or split chores, how we spend our free time, spend our money, or work on our goals. Maybe we approach our values from different angles or we come from clashing backgrounds.
Whatever is causing conflict to be present, please know that it’s common for anger to simmer below the surface of our marriages and relationships. We often hear couples say something like, “one little thing happens and we blow up!”
Anger is a natural warning sign. It often means we’re feeling unheard or vulnerable but we don’t feel safe enough to express it.
Anger means we’re leaning away in order to protect our hearts.
And then the problems really begin…
Unfortunately, most couples get stuck here and their default setting becomes anger and the gap between their hearts expands. Whether you are married or dating, the path of anger leads to decreased physical intimacy, loneliness, decreased communication, increasingly harsher conflicts, withdrawal, and resentment. Anger slowly kills your relationship.
Our skilled marriage counselors can get in there with you and help you both understand what’s happening underneath the anger. Anger protects you from hurt, but it pushes your partner away and causes more hurt to accumulate long-term.
Conflict resolution addresses the nuances of our anger, our disagreements, and how we each approach our goals. Our counselors work with you to find ways for both you and your partner to process the conflict and work together towards solutions and managing emotions.
In couples therapy you learn to make it emotionally safe to show the feelings beneath the anger (hurt, fear, anxiety, shame, etc.,) and begin creating a space where your hearts can reach toward each other for understanding, love, and support. We often need our partners but don’t feel safe enough to reach for them during conflict.
Wherever you find yourself in your relationship, we’re here to help support and hold hope for you and your partner. Please feel free to reach out by clicking Get Started – you can also read more on our blog or find a therapist near you.