Marital/Relationship Conflict

Sources of relationship conflict appear to be consistent across cultures and ages of the partners. Most couples actually argue about similar issues, including trust-jealousy, finances, personality habits, sex, intimacy (physical and emotional closeness), leisure time, stressful events, and relationships with other family members (including in-laws and children). Most mental health professionals agree that some conflicts/arguments in relationships are normal and are ultimately part of a strong relationship, yet the severity and types of problems and/or the way the conflicts are handled may require and benefit from professional help. Remedy professionals can help a couple to heal their relationship, renew the purpose of the relationship, and make the relationship a “conscious” one, if both partners are committed and willing to do so. 

Abuse in a partnership is different from normal relationship conflicts. Abuse can be in the form of emotional/psychological, physical, or sexual. Some emotional abuse can be subtle and can be tied to a personality issue, repressed anger/resentment, or to learned behaviors and patterns from childhood. Substance abuse in one or both partners is linked to more frequent and more extreme conflicts as well as abuse in a relationship.

Therapy for relationship conflict usually also involves individual psychotherapy for each person, in order to help each partner develop insight and self-awareness, work through issues from childhood and/or past partnerships, identify personal strengths and uniqueness, commit to changes and growth, and learn new communication and behavioral skills for strengthening and repairing the relationship.


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