What Causes Conflict
There’s no way to overcome our weaknesses without knowing our strengths. Why? Almost without exception, our weaknesses are a reflection of our strengths being pushed to an extreme.
Many family conflicts are caused by viewing another person’s strengths as weaknesses. A clear view of what naturally motivates another person can open the door to greater compassion, patience, compromise, and caring.
We may think people make us angry, but most of the time they simply reveal our own selfishness. What usually makes us angry is our lack of control over people and circumstances. Anger is inevitable in a marriage. Couples who gain skills at “keeping their spirits open” to each other and at dealing with anger in a constructive way take giant strides toward intimacy.
The “issue” is the first level of conflict. If two disputing parties can keep talking on the issue level, discussing the merits of each position and thinking through possible compromises, the tension could actually be constructive rather than destructive. Because a woman’s need for a close, meaningful relationship is often greater than a man’s, she is more sensitive to words and actions that can weaken a relationship.
There are five main reasons for conflict in the average relationship.
- Power and control: When both parties are fighting for control or resenting not being able to take control, there’s conflict.
- Individuality: When one person tries to change or manipulate his or her partner, and the other resists, there’s conflict.
- Distance: When one person begins pulling away or putting up walls and defenses, he or she begins to distrust, and the need for self- preservation arises.
- Distrust: When one or both people feel unsafe expressing their feelings or needs, there’s conflict.
- Unmet needs: When one partner feels his or her needs are not being met, again there’s conflict.