however if far from the truth.
Every married person know that "conflict-free-marriage" is an oxymoron. In reality, it is neither possible nor desirable. Marriage can inhibit conflict or forbid its expression. People can and do maintain a facade of sweet accord, especially in public.
In a contemporary marriage it is expected that husbands and wives will have different opinions.
More important, they cannot avoid having serious collisions on big issues that defy compromise.
The conflicts of marriage have many sources. One source is the financial conflicts of marriage as a business partnership in which two people are pulling sometimes together and sometimes in different directions. Clashing agendas are inherent in the intense emotional relationship between a man and a woman, which inevitably evokes passionate feelings from long ago.
Conflict goes with the territory of marriage. Happy and unhappy marriages alike face the same demons but in a poor marriage they tear at the fabric of the relationship and may destroy it. In a good marriage the demons are carefully contained. What is the difference?
What prevents anger from breaking the marriage apart?
What makes it a zone of safety that the couple finds so reassuring?
After interviewing many couples over the years about what is the successes of happily marriages, many couples acknowledged many stormy episodes. However, one of the gifts of the success in the marriage is learning to stand your ground and being able to disagree.
Submissiveness was not a quality by one partner and conformity were not valued as a strong factor of success. Many couples spoke of their first quarrel as a cornerstone of the marriage, a chance to see each other in a new light.
Conflict taught them a lot about the fears each had about expressing anger and about being the victim of the others aggressiveness. Those who were frightened of aggression were vastly relieved when the expected catastrophe did not occur. Everyone survived.
We fear conflict because we fear retaliation. We fear our own anger and our partner's anger for its destructive potential. We are afraid that if we lose our temper or disagree strongly, we'll be rejected or abandoned by our partner.
The high incidence of divorce gives people good reason to be frightened by intense disagreements and anger; the men and women in these happy marriages learned not to threaten to leave in the heat of the argument .
It was understood that the quarrel did not signify the end of the marriage.
The first step is to set up a safety zone where strong anger can be expressed freely is to make it clear that the fighting will not breach the walls of the marriage.
Both partners have to feel sure that their relationship is secure.
If one or both partners have experienced abandonment, either as a child or as an adult, this message needs to be reiterated many times.
Wallerstein & Blakeslee ~ The Good Marriage