Marriage counselors are constantly witness to couples in great conflict. The fights have increased and it seems that neither one of them can say or do anything without the other person taking offense to it. When the power of positive connection erodes, actions and words are more easily misinterpreted and fights become more frequent as a result. It is sort of like how the body becomes more susceptible to infection when it is in a weakened state. If care is not taken to nurture the positive connection in the relationship on a regular basis, it can easily get run down and eventually ‘get sick’!
Positive connection is simply intentional time spent together. At the beginning of a relationship, partners don’t have to force themselves to think about spending time together because the newness of the relationship demands it. As the relationship settles into comfort and routine, however, maintaining that positive connection is harder; that means making conscious, deliberate attempts to spend time together. Perhaps that means turning off the TV or computer and going to bed half an hour earlier. Maybe it means heartily resisting the urge to check the Blackberry or turn the TV off during dinner. Better yet, all committed couples, especially with children, need to make sure they actually go on dates away from the house and with a ban on standard household conversation!
Bottom line, if fights are up, positive connection is probably down. An increase in the connection will most likely decrease the intensity of the fights, like an antibiotic for a bad infection. Regular efforts towards connection may prevent numerous disagreements in the future. It’s like a daily multi-vitamin or power pill for the relationship; it’s easy and reaps a lot of reward in the long run. Try it!