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The Role of a Marriage Counselor in Resolving Conflict in Relationships

Lately, you find that your relationship is characterized by constant fights, often over the same few topics.  What makes it worse is these same topics seem to be quite silly and insignificant, so that can make them feel that much more annoying and frustrating.  You feel you and your partner have tried everything from tabling the discussions to duking it out; nothing works.  It feels incredibly irritating and hopeless.  You wonder, are my partner and I doomed? Here’s where the role of a marriage counselor helps you resolve conflict and move through all this darkness to see the light.

A marriage counselor can teach you and your partner several crucial facts and skills related to conflict.

Additionally, a marriage therapist can then ensure both you and your partner properly incorporate these concepts and skills into your lives so you both can

  • better protect yourselves from damaging fights,
  • reduce the frequency of your conflict,
  • improve the likelihood that you both regularly hear and understand each other,
  • and more consistently reach productive resolutions on difficulties.

A couple having trouble communicating during an argument as the woman is pushing herself away from the man.

Here are some ways in which marriage counseling will help:

  1. Teach you about gridlocked conflict

Gridlocked conflicts are the fights we most often have in our relationships (they account for about 70% of all fights in a relationship).  These are the ones where we keep fighting about the same thing and usually, they feel centered around something silly and insignificant.

A marriage counselor can help you learn, though, that there’s important material beneath the surface (a dream for your life that is at odds with that of your partner).  The reason you both are gridlocked on these topics is because the stance you both have on the deeper issue(s) (dreams) are dramatically different.

A marriage counselor can help you both to recognize the dream beneath these gridlocked or perpetual conflicts, feel safe enough to hear each other’s differing dreams, and work towards much better understanding and respecting each other’s position.

  1. Help you notice unhealthy communication obstacles

Oftentimes, when we fight, we go in circles, never hearing each other, let alone reaching any kind of resolution.  The reasons for this lie in a lack of skill in how we bring topics up and how we talk about them.

The research tells us if we start off a conversation in the wrong way (with criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and/or stonewalling), we have an over 90% chance of the rest of the conversation failing. A couple sitting on a couch together practicing their listening skills rather than focusing on their own agenda in the relationship.

A couples’ therapist can help you and your partner identify whether any of these incredibly damaging forms of communication exist in your conflict.

From there, a couples’ therapist will help you learn healthy skills to use instead, such as sharing your emotions (rather than describing your partner), describing the situation you’re in without pointing fingers, and then asking your partner for one specific thing to improve the problem.  That way, you both can actually make some headway in hearing each other out.

  1. Teach you how to really listen, feel heard, and reach solutions

Another common pitfall in relationships is we can become so focused on our own position and agenda, we have tremendous difficulty hearing our partner’s viewpoint.

A couples’ therapist can help you learn and utilize skills to fully hear your partner out and ensure you accurately understand his/her position, emotions, thoughts, and needs before sharing your view.  By taking turns as speaker and listener, you both can make considerable progress in understanding each other and reaching some ideal solutions.

A couple laughing together and enjoying each others company after seeing a marriage counselor and learning ways to work through gridlock conflict.

Resolve Conflict in Your Relationship with Online Therapy in San Diego, CA

Through online therapy in California and Oregon, you and your partner can develop the most successful tools to protect yourselves from consistent and chaotic conflicts, as well as put yourselves in much better positions to feel regularly heard and understood by each other.  Additionally, at Stress Solutions, you both can gain the skills to reach compromises and ideal solutions on a much more consistent basis.

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