If you want a more intense connection, FIGHT with your wife!
Turns out there’s a magic ratio of positive to negative interactions that creates the most attraction & connection in a relationship.
Surprisingly, too many positive interactions can be as damaging as too many negative.
So you have to learn to engage in conflict. In other words, FIGHT!
- Fight often but fight fair.
- Fight about little things so you don’t have to fight about big things.
- Fight enough that you both get comfortable with conflict.
Looking for more attraction and more connection in your marriage?
You’ve got to fight more, not less.
Why Engage in Conflict
Want a More Intense Connection? FIGHT with your Wife!
Did you know that conflict avoidance is one of the top predictors of divorce?
Couples who refuse to address conflict are much more likely to divorce, whereas couples who argue productively are 10 times more likely to have a happy relationship.
One study showed that even when women were experiencing high relationship stress, they still had strong feelings of intimacy, as long as they were spending time with their partners.
It’s not conflict that destroys marriages, it’s the distancing that comes along with avoiding conflict that does the damage.
Want a Happier Wife? FIGHT with Her!
Couples (especially women) who avoid conflict are less happy.
When one or both partners in a couple believed that arguing shouldn’t be tolerated, they were less satisfied and more aggressive, and the women tended to be more depressed.
Women who are highly conflict avoidant become less secure in their relationship over time, whereas women who are more willing to engage in conflict become more secure as time progresses.
Conflict Avoidance = Less Happiness
A study done in 2017 determined that when couples avoided conflict over important issues, they had worse communication, reduced happiness, and were less committed to the relationship.
This Conflict is Too Hot; This Conflict is Too Cold; This Conflict is …
The Ideal Ratios
On the one hand, we all know that if you fight too much, or fight destructively, your chances of divorce increase.
However, not many people realize that …
The opposite is also true.
When you avoid conflict, your divorce risk also increases.
You can actually apply numbers to it.
If you don’t have enough positive interactions to offset the negative ones, it’s not good. Lower than 5:1 positive to negative interactions, and your relationship likely ends.
However, turns out that if your ratio of positive to negative is too HIGH – higher than 11:1 positive to negative interactions – the relationship also ends.
You can NICE your marriage to death!
It’s kind of the Goldilocks Syndrome … this porridge is too hot … this porridge is too cold …
Not Enough Positive Interactions = BAD
Too Many Positive Interactions = BAD
Ratio of positive to negative interactions can be too HIGH
Greater than 11:1 positive to negative interactions increases risk of relationship ending
Why Conflict Helps
Conflict is inevitable in a relationship. Two people can’t live together without the tension that arises from wanting different things.
This is true of roommates, classmates, soldiers, co-workers, siblings, business partners, and married couples. The more areas where you intersect, the more areas for potential conflict.
You are not an island. Whatever is hurting you about the relationship is by definition hurting the relationship because you are a participant. What’s bad for one is bad for both.
So, it’s not really a question of whether you’ll have conflict.
The only question is whether you will openly address the conflict or whether you will bury it.
And what do we know about things you bury?
They tend to rot.
‘Conflict Delayed is Conflict Multiplied’
An insightful quote by Jordan Peterson.
I’ve heard so many guys say with pride, “I don’t sweat the small stuff.” But when they unpack it, they realize they’re just using code for, “I hate to address conflict, so I let it go.”
The problem with letting it go is that you don’t really let it go.
You may forgive, but you don’t forget. All those small slights and injustices snowball until they avalanche down and bury you.
All of a sudden, you’re not upset simply because she makes a snide remark, but about a persistent pattern of disrespect.
Kitchen Sink Phenomenon
It’s known as the kitchen sink approach, where all of a sudden something fairly minor triggers an angry response out of all proportion. Mean and destructive comments get thrown about, the D-word is mentioned, and you sleep in separate rooms.
In the aftermath, you’re both left flabbergasted at the savagery of the fight, wondering what in the hell just happened.
“It came out of nowhere,” you say.
I suspect most of us have had that experience.
Now, instead of being able to negotiate and compromise, you’ve escalated to something that’s potentially relationship-destroying; ironically, the very thing you were trying to avoid with ‘not sweating the small stuff’.
Keep Problems Small
Here’s what you do. Instead of silently seething at the things that bother you, toss them out there.
Do it in a low-key, matter-of-fact way. It doesn’t have to be some huge drama.
No More Silent Seething
“It bugs me when you look at your phone when we’re having dinner together.”
“It bothers me when you criticize me in front of the kids. Please keep your comments private.”
“I don’t like walking over piles of unfolded laundry in the bedroom. Let’s figure out a solution.”
Embrace the small conflicts as they arise because when handled well, they are opportunities to build connection, closeness, and trust.
When you avoid conflict, you’re only counting one side of the equation. You look at the cost associated with engaging in a conflict and the temporary discomfort it produces, but you forget about the risks of not speaking up and letting resentments grow.
Want a More Intense Connection? FIGHT with your Wife!
Willingly … even eagerly … welcome small conflicts when they’re low stakes and easily resolved. Arguments like this are great opportunities to understand each other better and build connection and trust.
Without arguments you don’t make progress in your marriage.
In one study, a group of researchers profiled 1,500 adults for more than a week. They found that while people temporarily felt better on the day they avoided an argument, they paid the price the next day with diminished feelings of well-being and increased cortisol response.
Engaging in productive conflict brings people closer and people who have healthy conflict patterns have a greater sense of well-being, are more popular, and have less depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
Instead of distancing yourself from your partner and the conflict, lean into it, instead. You’re going to feel so good when you do!
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