The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


Are there good and bad ways to fight in a marriage?

There are definitely good and bad ways to fight (or argue) in a marriage. In general, people should address their concerns directly, keep their focus on the specific behaviors or circumstances that cause the problem, clearly state emotions, needs and thoughts, acknowledge responsibility for one’s own contribution to the problem, and encourage the other person to express his or her viewpoint. Ineffective strategies include blaming, stonewalling, emotional explosiveness, name-calling, defensiveness, and resurrection of every complaint since the beginning of the relationship. Research shows that these behaviors serve to escalate the conflict rather than resolve it. It is also a problem when people become more invested in winning the argument than in resolving it. While no one can be perfectly mature at all times, and it is expectable that everyone will regress to immature behavior occasionally, it is vitally important to cultivate constructive conflict management skills. A robust literature shows that poor conflict negotiation is a key ingredient in marital unhappiness and, ultimately, divorce.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Psychology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App