Using Closeness to Dissolve Conflicts


conflictMarried couples argue. Differences in parenting styles, disagreement about finances, and many other areas in life can be sources of conflict. What if the conflict really wasn’t even about those things at all though? What if the real conflict was that you, as husband and wife, were not close enough in your relationship? Clinical psychologist, Tim Cavell, suggested that couples ask and consider the following questions and statement when a disagreement occurs:

“Can we be together, respect each other, laugh together and love each other?”

“Do you really hear me and know that I feel so scared or hurt or sad?”
“I feel so far away from you right now and I don’t want that.”

If you answered “no” to either of those questions or are able to identify with the last statement, then your relationship will likely benefit from a more positive closeness. Clinical psychologist, Wendy Walsh, suggests hugging for at least 10 seconds. This promotes the release of oxytocin that will help physically, and emotionally, create a closeness. She also suggests sleeping closer together physically, even skin-to-skin.

Walsh goes on to suggest that another way to stay close as a couple is to put the technological devices down when spending time together. This reminded me of an experience I had just recently! My husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We saw a younger couple being seated in a booth close to us. The first thing they both did after being seated was get their phones out of their pockets. For the next 15-20 minutes, the two barely said a word to each other. Instead, they spent that time on their phones, sitting on separate benches, without even so much of a glance in each other’s direction. What have relationships come to!?!? Are we so reliant/addicted with technology that we can’t even have an hour away to spend some quality time with our significant other? In an effort to save more marriages, I ask you this: What will you do to better your relationship and create a closeness that could, in turn, dissolve other differences and conflicts?

To read more about this topic, click here to the article that Walsh and Cavell are quoted in with their observations and suggestions.

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