Conflict is the gateway to intimacy

The transition all couples face in the course of the relationship is learning how to express and communicate emotions to one another, especially when conflict occurs. In order to engage in emotional intimacy after conflict, it is key to validate the emotions that you and your partner are experiencing throughout the conflict. When conflict occurs, so often we dig in our heels and justify why we are right and our partner is wrong. However, conflict isn’t a zero-sum transaction, it is meaning and connection building with your partner as you truly learn more about each other. Conflict is the opportunity to find ways to love your partner better. And as you grow in love and understanding, you can achieve deeper levels of intimacy with your partner as you build connection in conflict.

In an article written by Kyle Benson about conflict, couples, and understanding, he identifies concrete ways for partners to actively develop their communication skills during conflict. Benson highlights that conflict is the opportunity to better attune to your partner, allowing you both to develop true intimacy in your relationship. In his article he states:

“Emotions have their own purpose and logic. Your partner cannot select which feelings to have. Their feelings come up unconsciously. If you can’t get beyond the belief that negative emotions are a waste of time and even dangerous, you will never be able to attune to your partner enough to have true intimacy.”

At the Arizona Center for Marriage and Family Therapy, we prioritize our therapeutic work in helping couples navigate conflict, strengthen communication, grow in attunement, and achieve true intimacy.

For more information about Kyle Benson’s article and the theme of this post, click here.

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