Communication Interactions Paper
This is an interaction paper that conveys the understanding of the concerns that cause conflict between people or institutions and the methods and techniques and resources currently being used to resolve the conflicts in the varied contexts. This is implemented by selecting a specific topic or conflict situation and demystifying and analysing the events within the conflict to particular situation. The essay will define the context of the conflict; provide relevant history and the limitations of the conflict survey. It will also examine the major issues of the conflict and their causes as identified in the topic chosen. The communication methodologies that are used to resolve the conflict will also be reviewed and the recommendations for respective approaches to be considered in resolving the conflict.
Topic: Conflict in marital relationship
Marriage is a union that is of social nature union or a contract that is legal between spouses, and establishes obligations and rights amongst them, amongst them and their children and also their in-laws (Guttmann, 7). It is an institution that ensembles love, trust, understanding and unity. People marry for varied purposes including social, legal, emotional, financial, and religious and many others. A marital relationship is a union of the spouses with mutual interests and the spouses live together for various social and legal reasons. In a successful marital relationship, spouses must have more positive than negative interactions. The positive interactions and pleasant times help spouses feel respected and loved. As an institution that involves human beings, conflict is inevitable. All humans are different, have varied beliefs, likes, dislikes and values (Bradbury, Fincham & Beach, 970). These differences are what make up an individual’s perspective and perspective is the way an individual consider or view things. The manner in couples deal with marital conflict is a powerful predictor of successful marriage. All marriages, even the very successful of them all, have conflict. Marital conflict is a normal part of two human beings working out a life together.
Marital conflict is not just a misunderstanding in the partners’ opinion but rather a sequence of events that have been handled poorly and inconsistently thus deeply damaging the marriage union. The issues in any marriage institution have deteriorated to a point that anger, stubbornness, anger, bitterness, hurt have left most marriage broken and prevented effective marriage communication. Marital conflicts have a harmful effect on family, mental and physical health and decades of findings and research have produced a clear picture of the nature of conflicts by revealing couples who are behaviours or tendencies of conflict.
Four stages of marital conflict (Guttmann, 8)
These stages are what lead to marital discord.
Stage 1: this is where newly married couples are still new in the institution and do not know how to successfully resolve their differences. They settle issues by avoiding confrontation and thus have the ‘have it your way’ mentality.
Stage 2: this is now when the spouses have ignored each other enough to an extend of neglecting their basic needs. They now turn to individualism and want things done their own way. This is where discord begins in terms of who owns what.
Stage 3: This stage involves negotiating and compromising each other.
Stage 4: This is the stage where resignation is observed. Spouses in this stage are exhausted and the conflicts are at a stage where resolving is quite a hard task. This is where divorce is rife and expert advice and marriage guidance is required.
Research by various psychologists on marriage, especially the social psychologists whose main aim is to better assist couples experiencing marital conflicts in the last three decades showed that marital conflicts assume a special status in the institution of marriage. This was evidenced by three schools of thought.
- First, many of the highly influential theories of marriage reflect the view that frustration results from spouses’ aversive and indecisive response to conflict (Grych & Fincham, 65).
- Second, the research on marriage has entirely focused on the effect rather than the cause. That is what the spouses do when they disagree with each other and thus most interactions are inclined towards studies of conflict and problem solving (Grych & Fincham, 65).
- Third is that conflict resolution techniques and skills are what are used by distressed couples as psychological intervention (Grych & Fincham, 65).
Marital conflicts entail very many things and can be virtually about anything. Many spouses complain about the major sources of conflict. These sources of conflict can range from abusiveness, which can either be physical or verbal, to their behaviour or personal characteristics. The issue is about division of labour and general sharing of family responsibilities. There is always a perceived inequality in the sharing of responsibility. This has caused marital conflict where the male folk tend to withdraw whenever conflict arises. Conflict over power or who is in charge at what time. This is strongly related to dissatisfactions in the marriage institutions. Couples reports of conflict over extramarital sex, excessive alcoholism and drug use is a predictor of divorce. Other reports are mainly from the wives of husband being jealous and foolishly spending money. The severity of most of the marital conflicts normally increases the likelihood of divorce. As much as the issue violence is not reported to be a problem by most couples, it is also a huge predictor of divorce in most newlyweds (Grych & Fincham, 70).
Spouses behave differently when conflict arises. An observational study conducted by psychologists with the underlying hope of identifying the dysfunctional trends and behaviours through couple therapy gave detailed information about how non-distressed and distressed spouses behave during conflict. At a time of conflict, couples who are distressed make more reactive and negative statements about each other and fewer positive statements than their non-distressed counterparts (Howard & Dawes, 478). They are also more likely to react or respond with unfavourable or reactive behaviours any time their partners behave otherwise. All in all this so called negative reciprocity is more rampant across varied kinds of situations than is the ratio of negative behaviour thus making it the most reliable manifest sign of marital conflict. Negative behaviour is more frequently reciprocated in spouses who engage in physical aggression than any other spouses reported and this is a major cause of marital conflict amongst couples today.
Conflict in marriage can be looked at in several contexts according to Bradbury, Fincham and Beach.
- Conflict in the context of affectional expressions and giving support
- Conflict in the context of wider environment
- Conflict in the context of the couples’ character traits and backgrounds.
There is atypical pattern of behaviour whenever couples are in distress or when they are experiencing conflict. These behaviours are more rampant or predictable amongst the distressed couples as compared to those who are not. These are normally dominated by chains of negative traits that usually escalate making it difficult for the couples to stop it. One of the biggest challenge for couples in today’s environment of marital conflict about negative exchanges is to stop the conflict and o adapt to each other’s flaws and to exit from such circles of negative perceptions about each other. This can be attempted or done through responses that are well thought out to repair the couple’s interaction and mode of communication. For example, listening to each other and not responding with irritation or sadness. However, if the partners respond to each other negatively and with rage, they will end up continuing the cycle of aggression thus enhancing the conflict again (Grych & Fincham, 73). The advantage of couples who are non-distressed is that they can handle conflict faster and in a structured and predictable manner in that they will appear to be more responsive to attempts of repairing the areas of conflict and thereby will be able to exit from marital conflict faster and with ease compared to their distressed counterparts.
The other behaviour pattern that is exhibited by couples who are undergoing marital conflict is the demand-withdraw pattern. This is where one partner presses the other partner with criticism, demands and complaints one hand, and in the other, the partner withdraws with passiveness, not acting on any of the aggression and at times becoming very defensive. Specifically, the most common situation is in the behaviour sequence where the husband withdraws from the hostile responses from the wife. This research finding was found to be very consistent with several studies showing that most wives display more effects of negativity and aggressive behaviour than their male counterparts (husbands), who tend to make statements or respond suggestive of withdrawal. Withdrawal o not engaging, in turn, plays a big role in decreasing marital satisfaction (Howard & Dawes, 479).
Are conflicts in marital relationships important? The answer to this question can be answered by first demystifying the reasons for conflict. Most marital conflict are caused by marital problems and issues such as;
- Financial problems
- This entails include their discipline, diet and parenting issues
- Responsibilities and shared tasks
- Time away from each other
- Toxic friends and peers
- Family, especially the in-laws
- Irritating behaviours and habits
The attention given to the conflicts in marriage can be understood when one considers, apart from the causes, but also its implication on the physical, mental and family health. These conflicts have been connected to the causing of symptoms of depression, eating disorders, alcoholism, absentee parenting and divorce. Marital conflicts are associated with poorer health and malnutrition. This is because the hostile behaviours at the time of conflict leads to stress and depression thus affecting the normal functioning of the body. The other issue is physical aggression. This has been experiences in many families in the United States who experience marital conflicts. It has led to physical injury. Cases of women being brutally injured and in some instances murdered by their husbands have been reported. Marital conflicts can be important if it is looked from the perspective of finding out the strengths and weaknesses amongst partners. When a conflict arises and it opens up doors of correcting and learning from each other, then the conflict can be termed as important since it has led to the strengthening of the marriage (Karney & Bradbury, 23).
In order to effectively resolve marital conflict, a couple must know, accept and adjust to their differences. All humans are different and it is important to understand these differences and then accept and adjust to them. Secondly, resolving conflict also requires couples to defeat selfishness. This is done through trusting each other and living in harmony. Third is the act of pursuing each other as a couple. This can be done successfully by checking on each other’s attitudes and circumstances and listening to each other. Forgiveness is also key in conflict resolution (Koerner & Jacobson, 215). Both partners should learn the art of forgiveness because all human beings have flows and it only through forgiveness that couples will end up understanding each other’s flows and move on without prejudice and hate. Finally is effective communication. This is the main solution to most marital conflicts. When couples communicate well, openly and freely, they create a level of understanding that will overrule their weaknesses and make them adaptable to each other and thus reducing instances of conflict.
In conclusion, marital conflicts are what makes or breaks any marriage in today’s society. The supposition that management of conflicts in marriage is the key to successful marriages and that skills can be modified in a special therapy for couples has perceived very useful in propelling the research on marriage into the psychology mainstream. The stability of any marriage depends on how couples manage conflict amongst themselves.