By Ke’Ana Lampkins
Love- it’s something most of us strive for, and when we find it, we feel like the luckiest person in the world. Love is a really beautiful thing with the right person. When I got married, I expected it to look like a scene from a Disney movie. I envisioned the butterflies and bunnies following us around while we hold hands. And this happened, figuratively speaking. But then we hit a speed bump called, life. I had not thought of how the conflict in my marriage would look.
There is a false image of what healthy and realistic relationships look like when conflict is present. Pop Culture portrays conflicts in a very unhealthy way. If you tune into the latest episode of Love and Hip Hop or Real Housewives, partners are attacking each other in a demeaning and condescending way.
How does conflict look in your relationship? Is it filled with yelling and screaming in hopes of persuasion or domination? That is definitely not the way you should do things, but it’s how a lot of people do.
I love my husband and I love our story. We’ve endured some tough things together and we’ve grown so much as a result. But we did have to learn some things. We had to learn how to fight fair. Join me on this journey as I share 5 things I learn from 5 years of marriage on fighting fair and dealing with conflict.
Assume the Positive, Give them the benefit of the doubt: This was probably the hardest for me to learn and understand. When you’re dating and trying to get to know someone, you’re constantly trying to figure out the other person. Who they are, what are their morals and values, who are they when they’re mad, sad, disappointed, and happy? But you also spend a lot of time trying to protect yourself. Rightfully so.
The problem is when you bring that mindset into your marriage or a relationship, that you’re trying to protect yourself from your spouse.
Fights and arguments are almost instantly started because you are in a war mentality. When you are in a relationship with someone, you have to know and believe that your significant other has your best interest at heart. We aren’t perfect, none of us are. We will make mistakes, and the truth nobody wants to hear: we will hurt each other.
But the important part to remember is that it’s not on purpose. If you’re in a relationship with someone who you feel intentionally hurts you, then you may be in an unhealthy relationship.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who has done things in the past to “get back at you” or “punish you” chances are that isn’t someone that you can give the benefit of the doubt to. In fact, it’s psychological abuse.
Many times people associate domestic abuse with physical abuse, but oftentimes emotional abuse is present before physical abuse even occurs. It looks like forms of manipulation through blame, hyper criticism, shame, guilt, refusal to communicate, and even threats of punishment. This is a toxic relationship, and you should not give that person the benefit of the doubt. You should seek counsel if you feel unsafe or are unsure about how to end the relationship.
If you are in a relationship with someone and you feel like you can’t assume the positive, when they’ve given you no real reason to feel that way, then chances are you don’t trust them. That could be for several reasons including fear, trauma, disinterest, or a previously unresolved relationship that you need to heal from before pursuing a new relationship.
At the core of it all, you should be able to trust your spouse or significant other enough to choose to believe that whatever they might have done to hurt you was not intentional or in spite. You should be able to assume that they made a mistake or that it was from a lack of communication. That it is something that can be solved through a conversation or even time to sort things out.
My husband and I had several of these early on in our marriage. While trying to learn each other and live together and be husband and wife. Not too long ago, I was expecting him home by a certain time to help me with our son. I was frustrated by him being late but I was also able to identify that he wasn’t late to hurt me or to be inconsiderate. I was able to give him the benefit of the doubt that he got held up at work and that he would get home as soon as he could.
Assume the positive, it will save you a lot of heartaches. But make sure that the person you do this with, is a person you trust, love and has shown you with hardcore facts that they are someone who you can trust and who loves you back.
Stay tuned for 4 more tips on how to deal with conflict in relationships!
Ke’Ana Lampkins is a contributing writer for The Pedestal Project, LLC. Ke’Ana is a Christian, wife, and mother dedicated to empowering young girls and women through counseling, mentorship, and education. Connect with her on Instagram @Beautifully_Yanni.