Friday, September 17, 2010

Conflict: A Chance for Growth

Sometimes we think if we become angry with our partner, this may lead to the eventual dissolution of the union. The opposite is true. The repression of anger eats us up inside; it makes us more angry because we do not feel comfortable to openly discuss our concerns, which leads to more frustration and unhappiness. There is, of course, a right way and a wrong way to discuss a problem. An accusatory manner serves neither party. However, the willingness of both partners to have an open discussion of how certain behaviors make another feel is a reasonable expectation in a good relationship.

The Psychology of Romantic Love, What Love Is, Why Love Is Born, Why It Sometimes Grows, Why It Sometimes Dies, Dr. Branden states, “Relationships are not destroyed by honest expressions of anger. But relationships die every day as a consequence of anger that is not expressed. The repression of anger kills love, kills sex, kills passion. In order to repress anger, we often turn off to the person who has inspired the anger. We solve the problem of our anger by making ourselves numb. Relationships are buried by such solutions.

It is in our self interest to know that if our partner is angry at us, he or she will tell us so. It is not to our self interest to have one who never complains about things that hurt or anger him or her. The willingness to share our pain, our fear, and our anger serves the growth of romantic love.”

Sometimes it is more important how something is said, rather than what is actually said. Remember back to when your relationship started. Weren’t you so polite to each other – always thanking one another for the small niceties? Well, it is important to FOREVER exhibit this behavior. We would never treat our friends like some people treat their partners. Speaking to one another respectfully with care and politeness goes a long way in keeping love alive. Liking, as well as loving, a partner is also so very important.

Dr. Branden goes on to say, “
If we wish to understand why with one couple love seems to grow and why with another love dies, it is instructive to watch how the woman and man talk to and related to each other – how they communicate.

We know that nothing gives us the experience of being loved as much as when we feel that we are a source of joy to our partner. The smile of pleasure on our partner’s face when we enter the room, a glance of admiration aimed at something we have done, an expression of sexual desire or excitement, an interest in what we are thinking or feeling, a recognition of what we are thinking or feeling even when we have not explained, a conveyed sense of joy from being in contact with us or simply from watching us – these are the means by which the experience of visibility and of being loved are created, are made real to us. And these are the means by which we create the experience for our partner.”

Don’t be afraid to be childlike in your appreciation of your partner. Be open and show your love in all different ways. Be excited by and for your partner in all endeavors. Excitement is contagious.

Dr. Branden continues,
“Can anything be more inspiring than to allow our partner to see the excitement that he or she stimulates in us? Unfortunately many of us were raised to conceal such excitement, to subdue and submerge it, to extinguish it in order to appear grown up so we are afraid to let our partner see how much we feel, how much love radiates through us, how much pleasure our mate can inspire. Or perhaps we want to express it, we want to communicate it, and it is our partner who withdraws, who turns us off, who signals that such messages are better left uncommunicated, because our partner is made anxious by excitement, even by the excitement that he or she ignites. But fear of excitement kills romantic love. Never marry a person who is not a friend of your excitement.”

In conclusion, conflict is not something to fear -- as long as it is recognized and addressed properly. If resolved with respect for a partner, it actually will lead to a strengthening of the union. As a word of caution, be wary of a partner who never complains, never says anything is wrong. He or she may very well be a time bomb waiting to explode.

Next Up ... Is Having and Maintaining A Relationship Your Top Priority?

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