I am used to conflict both in myself and with those that mean the most to me. I read somewhere (a Family Systems Theory book) that conflict is most likely a result of too much closeness (as in smothering) or too much distance (as in cutoff). Either way, people then often blame, attack or hide and get all emotionally flooded. We stop thinking. Emotional ruminating is not thinking.
Even when we hide from the other who we feel has hurt us, we probably fight with them in our heads. We imagine beating them into powerlessness with our wonderfully practiced attacks. Our opponent is probably doing the same thing right when we are.
It seems to me that when we attack and defend, we ignore our relationship. How we are covenanted suffers in the elusive benefit of beating the other.
Who stands for the relationship?
I visited with a couple in noisy conflict yesterday. Like pugilists whacking and hacking, they listened only to their “inner dialogue” not each other and thus projecting rage and hurt to their partner.
I asked them “how is your hatred working for each other?“ The husband complained that he didn’t hate his wife but she didn’t seem to disagree with the word “hatred.” I said, “how is your hatred towards your marriage working for each other.“
When couples bicker they bleed the goodness of what is between them. The couple may harangue each other thinking that it is just about them. But it is the marriage — a distinct entity — that looses most.