What Happens When You Avoid Confrontation and Conflict in Your Marriage?

August 15, 2015

Are you an “Avoider” in your marriage? Avoiders are “stable” in maintaining their marriages yet don’t experience a high level of emotional intimacy which produces more of a “mutual co-existence,” rather than a quality marriage.

They’re called “Avoiders” because they do their best to shun confrontation and conflict.  They go all out to reply to one another positively, overlooking the trouble spots.  Their assumption is: if you don’t talk about negative emotions, feelings, and ideas, they will simply disappear.  Avoiders, like every couple, have plenty of concerns they could work together on.  But they deliberately avoid the topics they know will make each other angry; and dance around any deep seated issues.

What this couple doesn’t understand is that the ability to address and resolve conflict in a positive manner actually strengthens marriages!  The inability or lack of desire to deal with conflict weakens them.  Why?  Because when a couple learns how to resolve conflict they get down to the real ‘nitty-gritty’ of how they feel.  They have those “ah ha” moments that say: “I didn’t know that about you!” … or: “I didn’t realize you felt that way!”

Because this couple avoids conflict, they also strive to avoid the ultimate conflict – divorce.  Avoiders continue to mask their negative feelings and dodge conflict because of their children, their finances, or fear about what their church and friends would think.

Ultimately this pair commits to staying together, for better or worse, and does it, not out of the internal deeply rooted connection to each other, but based on external influences from family, faith, and fortune.  The truth is they are doing more things apart because spending time together is not a high priority.  While they have grown detached, they have created a safe and comfortable life.

This couple is often viewed by others as good parents or good Christians but they are usually not seen as sweet romantics, though sometimes they pretend to be!

Knee to Knee Nose to Nose questions:

Do you see any of the “Avoiders” negative characteristics in your marriage?  If so what changes do you want to make?

How do the biblical ideas of “not letting the sun go down on your anger” … and “love keeps no list of wrongs” come into play in your marriage?

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