Growing up, I consistently heard from people I respected that they hadn’t had conflicts in their
marriages. I began to believe that a conflict-free marriage was a successful marriage. Thank
God, I learned the error in this belief before getting married. Otherwise, I would have judged my
marriage bad or not right because we have conflicts.

When preparing intending couples in premarital counselling, we encourage them not to run
away from or avoid conflicts, even when it leads to them turning their backs at each other at
night. When we run away from having conflicts we either suppress our negative emotions which
could lead to resentment, health problems or it could begin to affect our perception of our
partner and the marriage, we could channel our anger to our partners in other ways, at other
things or people around us, whatever the case the marriage is put at greater risk than the quarrel could have caused.

The only exceptions to this are people who have been trained by life and upbringing to avoid
conflicts and have mastered it. These people can sweep issues under the carpet and still be
happy, when both partners have this conflict management style, avoiding conflicts does very
little or no harm to the relationship.

Secondly, Conflicts affords us the opportunity to get to know each other and grow together,
avoiding conflicts deprives us of this. The closer a couple is, the more they are likely to have
conflicts, if our goal is to avoid conflicts at all cost we begin to pull away from each other, make
decisions not to speak to our partners about subject matters we disagree on. We gradually
begin heading for isolation and loneliness.

About 70% of the conflict we have in our marriages will last the lifetime of the marriage because
these conflicts result from our core difference in personality, believes and values and these do
not easily change. The goal of every couple should be to learn skills around conflict
management so that we have healthy conflicts and maintain a happy and successful marriage in
spite of our conflicts

If a couple learns to do this, the fights/ quarrels could reduce with time, the partners would have
had a better understanding of each other and therefore can handle their conflicts better as they
now know what works and what doesn’t.

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