Defining The Conflicts in Your Relationship Part 2

Note:  This is the second of a two-part series.

What are the issues, conflicts or problems in your relationship?  Underline all that apply:

  • Unpleasant fights have occurred between us recently. There are more fights; fights seems to come out of nowhere; anger and irritability have crept into our relationship; we get into conflicts where we are hurting each other; I don’t feel very respected lately; I feel criticized.
  • We have differences in our basic goals, values or desired lifestyle. Differences have arisen in our life’s goals; differences have arisen about important beliefs; differences have arisen on leisure time interests; we seem to want different things out of life; we are growing in different directions; I don’t much like who I am with my partner.
  • Very disturbing events have occurred in our relationship. There has been physical violence between us; there is a problem with alcohol, drugs or other types of addictive behaviors; our marriage “contract” is changing; I find some of what my partner wants upsetting or repulsive; I am now feeling disappointed by this relationship.
  • We are not working well as a team. We used to share more of the family’s work load; we seem to be pulling in opposite directions; my partner does not fairly share in housework or childcare; my partner is not carrying his/her weight financially; s/he is not being very considerate; I feel alone managing the family.
  • We are having trouble sharing power and influence. I don’t feel influential in decisions we make; my partner has become more domineering; I have become more demanding; my spouse has become passive; my partner is “spacey” and is not a strong force in our relationship; I am starting to care a lot more about who is running things.
  • We are having trouble handling financial issues. One of us doesn’t bring in enough money; we have differences about how to spend money; we are stressed about finances; my spouse is financially more interested in him/herself than in us; we are not united in managing our finances; there is not enough financial planning.
  • We are not having much fun together these days. We don’t seem to have much time for fun; we try but don’t seem to enjoy our times together very much; we’re too stressed for fun; work takes up all our time these days; our interests are so different, there are no fun things we like to do together; we plan fun things to do, but they never happen.
  • We are not feeling close about spiritual issues these days. We do not share the same beliefs; we do not agree about religious ideas and values; we do not communicate well about spiritual issues.
  • We are having conflicts about being part of a community together. We feel differently about being involved with friends, other people or groups; we have different opinions about putting time into the institutions of community (political party, school, hospital, church, agencies, etc.); we disagree about doing projects or working for charity; we disagree about doing good deeds for others.

If you’ve underlined three or more areas of conflict, there are significant issues your relationship must work through if it is going to be warmer, closer or happier.

Source:  The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver (Three Rivers Press)

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