One common myth about great relationships is that there are no arguments or disagreements. The Gottman’s, fantastic relationship experts who have done lots of research in this area, disagree.
It is NORMAL to have conflict in a relationship; the issue is how well the couple deals with the conflict.
Over and over again, I see the ‘struggle’ phase as the deciding moment in a relationship. Is there enough keeping you in the relationship to move into the next phase of ‘repair’? How well is the repair done? For example, during the struggle, there may have been a period of deliberately hurting one another or making each other feel jealous. During the repair phase, what boundaries do you establish? Do you talk through what happened for each of you honestly? Do you both own your parts in what happened? Or is it all swept under the carpet?
If it is swept under the carpet, know that it will resurface. The repair has not been done thoroughly. When the couple gets to ‘struggle’ again, they will likely act out similarly. Repair is essential; it is a phase that creates a solid foundation for a relationship.
Once a concrete repair has been established, we can move into ‘enduring love,’ a deeper, more real love than in the honeymoon phase because you have gone through some tough things together and come through it. From here, we cycle back into the honeymoon, and it all starts again.
Right now, I’m in the honeymoon phase again. Which phase are you in right now?