Domination: Methods of Dealing with Conflict

Conflict is inevitable in marriage.  It's not a matter of if conflict will occur, it's a matter of how often and, more importantly, how it is handled when it happens.  There are five common styles of dealing with conflict in marriage.  [See previous article.]  One of these methods is domination.

For most people who become involved in a disagreement it is instinctive to feel a need to demonstrate that they are right.  While this may be a natural reaction, it is virtually always an ineffective and problematic way to deal with conflict.  In the context of marital discord, insisting that your view is the only correct one or that your way is the only way is tantamount to asserting dominance over your spouse.

Domination occurs when one or both spouses strive to have their interests prevail in times of conflict.  It is attempting to win a dispute.  The problem with winning is that there must be a loser.  The relationship is sacrificed for the need to be right.  Winning may appear to resolve the issue, but it harms the marriage.

The word domination brings to mind a forceful or even violent manner of approaching a conflict.  But this is not always the case.  Often times domination may take a subtle or even manipulative form.  It is still considered domination, however, when you continue to push for your own way, view, or interests whether you do it in an animated relentless manner or use an inconspicuous calm method. 

Here are some things to keep in mind...

(1)  Most issues are simply not worthy of conflict.  As the saying goes, don't sweat the small stuff.  Many martial disagreements stem from trivial disputes.  Is fighting over such matters really worth the fallout?

(2)  There is not a clear right and wrong position in most marital disagreements.  More often than not, marital discord originates from issues that are a matter of opinion or preference.  Your way of doing things is not necessarily the only or best way.

(3)  The relationship is more important than being right.  You may win an argument, but at what cost?  You may only win because your spouse feels frustrated, intimidated, or threatened.  No one really wins in such situations.

(4)  Choose your battles wisely.  You may experience times in which something is so critically important that you feel you must contend for it.  This, however, should be the rare exception rather than the rule.  In such cases remember the following: use extreme caution, make sure your intentions are pure, keep your attitude and demeanor right, maintain respect and positive regard throughout, and do everything possible to protect the relationship.

Articles in this series...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...