Conflict & Tension

Conflict is 100% natural in relationships.  Sometimes in couples’ therapy, my clients say “we never fight” to indicate the strength of their relationship.  But in fact, if you don’t ever have a conflict with your partner, that’s actually a red flag – it usually means that one or both persons are withholding their true thoughts and feelings!  

We tend to think of conflict in terms of a battle – a fight – but it’s more helpful to think of conflict as what happens when two people, thoughts, feelings, or ideas don’t match the others , causing tension in the relationship….

And that’s ok!  Different experiences, ideas, preferences, and perspectives is what makes the world a rich, interesting place.  And just because you have different ideas than another person doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the relationship, or that the relationship can’t work.  

Another word for conflict is “tension”.  

Tension is all around us in nature, and gives way to some of the most marvelous things – when a seed bursts way to a flower, when the butterfly cracks the cocoon open, when pleasure builds to orgasm, when a musical dissonances rises and releases into a beautiful resolving chord, when extreme pressure creates a diamond.  There’s a lesson in nature about tension:  tension is essential for some of the most beautiful wonders in our world.  You cannot have these incredible results without the tension along the way.  

The same is true of our relationships.  Tension, or conflict, is inevitable and necessary for our relationships to grow.  Our responsibility is to be ok with conflict – to accept it will exist – and work through it to create something new, stronger, and more beautiful, in our relationships.  

Learning how to effectively work through conflict is a skill, and takes time and practice.  Counseling can offer guidance, feedback, and support in your own conflict resolution skills.  If you would like help managing conflict, please feel free to contact me to schedule an appointment.

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