Why do couples fight? (and how to redirect the energy)
We fight with those we care about the most because those are the relationships that matter.
Why do couples fight? While quarrels are often over specifics (money, the kids, who puts out the garbage, sex, the lack of it, etc.) the underlying reason is a desire to reconnect after communication has gone lumpy, and sometimes any connection will do even if it is screaming.
The forces behind couple fights
Fights between couples often follow periods of fractured communication where deep-seated longings are unpronounced. Longings for answers to, ‘am I adequate for you’ … ‘are you there for me’ … ‘do my feelings matter to you’ … ‘will you respond to me when I need you’. Sometimes these little-big questions are the hardest to ask, and the toughest to answer.
Questioning and responding opens us up to vulnerability. If a partner is unable to ask or have these questions answered in a reassuring way, it can lead to repeated arguments. We revert to couple fights because these mask our true emotions, and ‘legitimise’ saying horrible things we would never think of in calmer moments. We need to redirect this energy towards rebuilding the relationships we cherish. Emotionally focussed therapy (EFT) is here to help.
Emotionally focussed therapy helps us understand the questions that lie beneath each argument by placing them into one of three categories – A, R and E.
- A is for accessible. Are you there for me when I need you?
- R is for responsive. Will you respond to me when I call?
- E is for emotional presence. Will you be emotionally present and available when I need you?
Emerging from exhaustion
That you are having couple fights is a positive. It suggests the relationship is important to you, - why else are you still together - although you are literally fighting to keep your relationship, to feel understood. When couples tell me they are tired of fighting, we discover, explore and address the underlying reasons they are fighting, using EFT techniques.
Benefits of EFT relationship counselling are:
- Through recall, identifying patterns of blaming, and learning to avoid what triggers them
- Through introspection, discovering the underlying conflict, and working together to resolve it
- Through empathy, understanding each other’s vulnerability, respecting it, and healing it
- Through this power, rediscovering ways to feel safer and securer as you reaffirm that you belong
- Using the opportunities this presents to start sharing intimate moments and enjoying a better sex life
- Rejoicing in the knowledge that you have unchained your emotions, and are fully open to each other.
Through reconnecting, we shave away the frustrations causing couple fights, by learning to share the affirmation everybody needs. Redirecting emotion away from arguments and into a healthy trusting relationship is part of the process couples engage in as they learn to say, ‘you are adequate for me’ … ‘I am here for you’ … ‘your feelings matter to me’ … ‘I will respond whenever you need me’.
Does this help you understand why couples fight? Are you ready to find a different way to respond in your own couple relationship?