Causes of Marital Conflict

A successful marriage is dependent on many factors falling into place. One such factor, which is so often ignored, is understanding the common causes of marital conflict.

Arguments are part and parcel of most relationships. Very few couples do not argue at all, while most of us have our ‘little disagreements’. But it is when these disagreements blow up into prolonged or repetitive arguments involving violence and abuse (mental or physical) that marriage problems start. Recognizing why these causes of marital conflict arise is very important for both partners, as it is the first step towards resolving differences.

Experts often divide causes of marital conflict into two groups – those that are inherent in each individual partner, known as static risk factors, and those that evolve through partnership interaction, known as dynamic risk factors.

Static risk factors revolve around each individual’s personality, and are generally shaped by past events, right through from childhood to the present day. Dynamic risk factors on the other hand are borne out of how each individual’s personality copes with that of their partner’s personality. Interaction between different personality types is likely to produce different outcomes, some of which become the causes of marital conflict.

Static risk factors include:

· Having a tendency to react strongly and/or defensively to problems and challenges in life

· Having divorced parents

· A negative / pessimistic outlook on life

· Being previously divorced

· Having children from a previous marriage

· Having different religious backgrounds

· Having experiencing financial hardship

Dynamic risk factors include:

· Negativity in communication – i.e. negative styles of talking and fighting with each other

· Difficulties in communicating, especially during a disagreement

· Trouble handling situations as a team

· Having diverse & unrealistic beliefs about marriage

· Having diverse & unrealistic attitudes to other critical life situations

· A low level of commitment to one another

· Not practicing faith together

If you are in a relationship where arguments frequently get out of hand, and you identify with one or more of these risk factors, then chances are that you’ll need help to get your marriage back on track. The next step you should take is to call a marriage counsellor. They will be able to help you overcome the differences in your relationship so you can stop worrying about the next argument and start enjoying your marriage again!



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