Relationship harmony is a good thing, right?
Just hearing the word ‘harmony’ conjures up images of mutual peacefulness—a wonderful ebb and flow of meaningful couples communication that gives way to a balanced coexistence, a balance that would be the envy of many couples. But all too often couples end up dancing around important issues, avoiding conflict, side-stepping uncomfortable conversations every chance they get (rather than face relationship issues head-on), all for the sake of achieving marital/relationship tranquility.
Relationship Help: Harmony at what cost?
There’s a truism in psychology that says, “You must face and walk through issues, not around them.” Typically, the issues we deny are the ones that cause us emotional distress. We’ve all been there and done that: Avoiding that which causes us discomfort. And while couples should learn to “let go” of certain issues, give one another the benefit of the doubt, and pick and choose their battles, side-stepping important issues that should be discussed isn’t the best default position for your marriage/relationship.
When avoidance is at work, couples can feel like they are walking on egg shells, not fully engaged with each other out of fear that the tenuous quiet can give way to turbulence at any moment. The relationship becomes a strait-jacket, squeezing the life out of the union, preventing the couple from freely expressing their needs and concerns.
This pseudo-harmony is deadly for a marriage/relationship—disengagement is not harmony.
Relationship Advice Self-Reflection Action Step
- How does avoidance manifest in your relationship?
- Is there a pseudo-harmony that is acting as a smokescreen, preventing you and your spouse/partner from examining difficult relationship issues?
- How can you turn the energy of avoidance into an exploration that can deepen emotional intimacy and engagement?
Until next time,
Dr. Rich Nicastro