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By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC

Over the years I’ve seen first hand that the most popular response to conflict is to simply avoid it. Most people avoid conflict because they fear damaging their relationships or hurting others. Some people say they simply don’t know how to talk through an issue, or that fighting is just too emotionally difficult.

But does avoiding conflict really work? Not at all. Fighting and disagreements are just part of life. When we avoid dealing with an issue, our problem only grows and gets worse. It’s like having a cut on your arm. If you ignore it, and don’t clean it out, it’s going to get infected and get worse. Issues in our relationships are the same. If we don’t clean out the emotional wound and find a solution with our spouse, (or friend or family member), it’s only going to make that relationship more fragile and damaged.

However, when we face our issues head on and work through our conflict, our relationship not only stays healthy, it grows stronger! Think about that cut on your arm – if you clean it out, put ointment on it and let it heal – you might have scar, but you’ll be better off for it. And next time, you won’t let it get infected. As you learn to handle conflict in a healthy way, you’ll get better at it, and be more confident and secure in your relationship, knowing that a conflict won’t tear you apart. You won’t ignore the cut and let it get infected again.

Do you know how to fight well? Are you scared of conflict and what it will do to your relationship? Have you considered couples counseling? If you need help growing in this area, please call me. I can help you learn the skills to communicate and face issues straight on so your relationship can grow and get stronger!