Ever wonder what couple therapy can actually help with? In this post, I’ll discuss how it can help couples fight better.
There is a lot I could say about fighting in couple relationships, but today I'll stick with the two opposites on the fighting spectrum:
I use the term loud fighting because yelling and cursing often characterize it. Couples who are loud fighters are very passionate about their relationships and are usually fighting to regain connection to each other. Some people have been taught that this type of fighting is problematic—however, it is completely natural and normal. Couples who loud fight can be just as healthy as couples who don’t.
Passive partners often appear cool and collected—very rational. They tend to hold all their anger inside until it simmers out. These fighters are often much more quite, and don’t show their anger all the time. Sometimes the anger simmers out in forgetfulness, body posture and tone of voice, or in biting remarks that seemingly come out of nowhere—this is when it can turn into passive aggressive fighting.
Most individuals do not fit neatly into a loud fighting or passive aggressive fighting category. Most people use a combination of both strategies as different times, under different circumstances, and at different intensity levels.
One common dynamic in couple relationships is that one partner may be a loud fighter and the other may be a more quiet fighter. This can create a disconnect and confusion between partners because they aren't speaking the same fighting language. The key is to make the message about what I am feeling, wanting, and needing very clear and confirming with my partner the message that they received.
Regardless of the style of fighting you utilize, couple therapy can help you de-escalate fights, communicate clearer to each other, and get to the root of problems instead of getting caught up in the whirlwind of fights.
Elizabeth Polinsky, MSW, LCSW, is a marriage and couple therapist specializing in working with military members, veterans, and their families. Liz is located in Norfolk, Virginia, and provides online counseling services throughout Virginia, South Carolina, and Arkansas. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Virginia (#0904011022), South Carolina (#11302), and Arkansas (#7735-C). She is also licensed as a Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy in Virginia (#0730000567) under the supervision of Dr. Victoria Holroyd at The Relationship Center at East Beach.
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In Communicate & Connect For Military Relationships, I provide educational tips for relationships, communication, and navigating military family life.