Couples Never Fighting=Not a Good Thing

“I’m not ready to make nice, I’m not ready to back down.” The Dixie Chicks

If you never fight, then nobody’s home. Trouble in relationships is always about the extremes. It’s just as problematic as fighting all the time because both lack respect for two people. Often couples arrive in my office surprised to be there “because we never fight.” Never fighting means someone is feeling invisible.Couples who Never Fight

This post is near one on low self-esteem because a never-fighting couple has at least one person who qualifies. One person has decided to cater to the other if there is no fighting. That person may not even be aware of how they are becoming very resentful over six, seven or even eight years. The resentments are insidious and eat away at the connectivity until there is nothing left.

That’s one danger of a relationship with a great age difference. This is captured in the book Blame by Michelle Huneven. The character of Patsy allows herself to be overlooked and disregarded by Cal, her much older husband. He’s a good guy but because of his age he is very definitive about who he is and he does not pay attention to learning how she is different. Fighting in a problem solving way means there is respect for two agendas.

There are always two sets of priorities because there are two people. This is why marriage/partnership requires so much work.

Fighting means both people matter. It’s why the founding fathers set up Congress the way they did, to encourage and nurture the greater truths which emerge from the messiness of fighting. Fighting over petty matters often means there are larger, unacknowledged truths underneath. It’s worth digging around for patterns and themes to head towards problem solving.

Of course, valuable fighting doesn’t mean fighting constantly either. Fighting all the time is just as unproductive as not fighting at all.

The ones who cater too much have to learn to pay attention to their anger instead of subverting it. The ones who have things going their way need to recognize something is amiss. If you are single, don’t swallow your wants out of love. Find out if the other person is willing to negotiate, problem solve and recognize there are two sets of values to work through.

If two people are in a relationship there are two sets of wants. The only way to make it for the long haul is to be certain that important wants are attended to. Codependence often means a pattern of catering to someone else which evolves into resentment that piles up to create a giant ocean-sized gap and ultimately the death of the relationship.

If we only go around once on the planet earth then there is something that really matters about not wasting decades. Figure out how to fight with respect about the things that matter. Fighting respectfully matters, not fighting is a delusion of success.

Read more on my website: therapyideas.net Listen to my podcast “What Healthy Couples Know that You Don’t” on website, iTunes or download with your favorite podcast app.

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27 thoughts on “Couples Never Fighting=Not a Good Thing

  1. Ns says:

    “not fighting is a a delusion of success” totally agree! the way i see it, couples who insist they never ever fight are either lying or there’s something grossly wrong in their make-belief paradise.
    Happened to read your article as was bothered by some comments directed to this topic.
    Thanks.

    • rhodasommer says:

      The make believe means ignoring the differences. Conflict due to different points of view is about growth in a relationship. It’s normal. Thanks for taking time to comment! Rhoda

  2. Amy says:

    I love this article, I have been with my boyfriend for a yr and a half and we have never fought. I feel exactly like you said “he is catering to my every need” and it drives me crazy. It may sound crazy that we don’t fight and I’m not happy..

    • rhodasommer says:

      Forward the post to him. Ask him to dialogue because the relationship feels lopsided with him catering to you too much. Invite more authentic disagreement! Rhoda

  3. ashmarieee says:

    Hi Rhonda,

    While I will give you that this can be the case, I disagree that it is always that case and the reason for not fighting is because one person is overcompensating the other.
    Fighting with your partner to try and change their views vs. accepting their differences may mean that you are not as compatible as you thought. I do agree with fighting with respect. No name calling! 🙂 If you can fight constructively without getting into an all out screaming match I think that it the most productive.

    Great article! Thanks!

    Ash.

    • rhodasommer says:

      My name is Rhoda not Rhonda. I’m talking about a consistent pattern where one person swallows their truthful opinions to get along then the resentments sneak out & build up and the chickens will come home to roost. Relationships require acceptance and they require truth about the differences, this can not be done without disagreement. Respect for the differences is what longevity is all about. Acceptance must be balanced by authenticity. Rhoda

      • ashmarieee says:

        I am sorry for the misspelling Rhoda. I agree that can be the case but your article takes the stance “If you never fight, then nobody’s home” which is why I was just commenting that not fighting is not always representative of someone building up resentment (of course it can be). For instance in my relationship we are both very happy and we don’t fight very much at all. We have pretty similar personalities (which helps), and after living together for 4 years have learned to accept our differences over time so that we can live with each other pretty peacefully (most of the time).

        Again lovely read. Thank you,

        Ash.

      • rhodasommer says:

        Most troubles in marriage show up years 6 to 10 & often problems that go underground can take longer than that. I wish you both the best, you may be the exception that proves the rule! Rhoda

  4. TeamH says:

    My husband and I also don’t fight, I think blanket statements that say not fighting is unhealthy is not quite accurate. Just because we don’t fight doesn’t mean we never disagree, we discuss and talk out any issues we might be having and come to a common ground solution that leaves us both happy. Sometimes it takes longer to come to an agreement, but we’re not mad or resentful while we are working on a solution, we put genuine thought and care into it, and do what we can to keep the other person happy as well as ourselves. The biggest difference I see in our relationship to our peers is that we do our best not to be selfish or out for ourselves.There is a less of “I” and a lot more “We”. We’re a team. If the team is doing good then we’re doing good. And we BOTH do this, If only one of us was practicing this mentality it wouldn’t work. I’m not saying it always works 100% of the time, but we’re kind enough to each other to realize we’re both just people who love each other and do our best.
    The reason we compromise instead of fighting is because of how much respect we have for one another. We also weigh the importance of the issue at hand. If he’s adamant about something changing, not letting the pets on the couch or something, I think about if it is important to me at all, do I really care either way? Even though it makes me sad to discipline the pets for snuggling up with me, I can see how its not appropriate for visitors to get mauled with love, and the damage it could cause our furniture. Seeing his point of view is important to me. He does the same for me. I want the dishes to be put in the dishwasher not the sink, its not convenient, but because he knows it helps me so he puts in effort. Its also realizing that if a person is agreeing to your request that, there is a bit of grace there, changes aren’t immediate. Most people I know start fighting because they discuss differences, hear each other out, say they are going to change and expect change right away. This is ridiculous.
    . Its not making yourself invisible to accommodate the other person, its respecting them, and realizing being contrary just to be contrary is no way to maintain a healthy relationship. Fighting doesnt make a healthy relationship, compromise and trust that your partner respects you as much as you respect them does.

    • rhodasommer says:

      I would say you are the exception that proves the rule. Not fighting is most often a sign of a lack of differentiation, which is a real problem see David Schnarch’s book Passionate Marriage. You are not the norm & that is my point, I am addressing the norm not the rare exception. Rhoda

      • TeamH says:

        I’m glad to have come across this article, I know we are an anomaly and your article expressed a lot of the views our friends and family had until they spend time with us. I was very fortunate to find my human. I think the word fight threw me off, I imagine it as an aggressive assertion not a a forum to be heard. So that may have been part of what I took from the article. I appreciate you writing back and thank you for interesting dialog.

    • Doug says:

      What a fantastic post, Team H. We do exist! Don’t be swayed by the norm, you are absolutely on the right path, anomaly or not. I don’t believe my relationship to be superior; I don’t revel in other people’s discomfort. But the fact is, we teams exist and should be acknowledged. I am instantly enamored with Team H!!

      • 1337Wif3 says:

        Thank you!!!! I’m glad to know we’re not alone, sometimes the norm seems to be full of drama and I’m often amazed and thankful for what my husband and I have. There is more than one way to love! Oh and I think another contributor to our .. ongoing success ( as I cannot tell the future but he’s stuck with me for life lol) is that we DON’T share our problems with others. Especially before we’ve had a chance to work it out with one another. It takes out a lot of regrets and a lot of negativity from friends who are trying to make you feel better by insulting your partner and telling you how right you are and how wrong the other person is. Although their intention and heart is in the right direction, it does nothing to help you resolve any issues at hand. Doug you are a badass and I’m happy for you!

      • rhodasommer says:

        Certainly, my post is not in support of drama. It is about all too many who begin a relationship by believing love is swallowing their true feelings to offer the simple comfort of agreement over a long period of time. It is my experience that a majority begin this way and lose track of themselves. Relationships are often about the process of evolution from the simple to the complicatedness of honest respect for differences. Rhoda

  5. Keemie Dandelion says:

    Not fighting in a relationship at all means that the other party might be bottling things up or even when they are not satisfied about something they remain silent in order to please their patners.Remaining silent or not retaliating or not saying how you feel inside will only live you marginalized and vulnerable in a relationship so speak out before its too late.

  6. Riz says:

    Well I don’t agree, I am married for 8 years , have 2 kids. I do have cold arguments with my wife every 3-6 months but we never fought. We have very healthy sex life and we cant live without each other for a day. My Personal opinion is that all those who have not had a year without fight will agree quite easily with you but again its only my personal opinion and I wish all those to have atleast 1 year without fighting to see how smooth it feels 🙂 and don’t hide behind this article to justify that fighting is good for married life.

    cheers!!

    • rhodasommer says:

      Again, perhaps you are in the rare 10% that this post does not apply to. Have some imagination that after 33 years in business of working with couples; it is an ordinary pattern that one person swallows theitr truth to cater to the other partner which MOST OFTEN creates severe problems in the infrastructure in years 6-10. The fact it does not apply to you yet does not mean it is untrue for the other 80%/90% of couples. Rhoda

  7. Lia says:

    I have been with my boyfriend of 10 years and we do not fight……ever. My children are now grown (and we won’t be having any) and the sex is great/frequent.
    I think people are of the opinion that fighting is ‘normal’, while I believe just the opposite.
    He and I also make a point of not telling each other ‘I love you’ constantly as some couples do, as we feel the words are over rated and you should show your affection in how you treat someone.
    Mutual respect means you talk openly and calmly with someone before it festers into something fight worthy.
    Being honest about how a subject makes you feel instead of trying to ‘be nice’ avoids the resentment that blows up into a free for all.
    Kudos to my other peace loving peeps………people WISH they could be us.

    • rhodasommer says:

      I make a distinction between ugly, go nowhere fighting & healthy disagreement in order to keep things real. I do not wish to be you. Perhaps the problem is misinterpretation of fighting as at some Darth Vader level which is not intended. Rhoda

  8. Kathy says:

    Great article! I just left a 3.5 year relationship because he had a fear of conflict and avoided all discussion of any sort. As far as he was concerned 2 mins on an issue was enough and there was no need for anymore. I allowed him to control the relationship this way and it drove me mad and when and if I did stand up for myself he would throw a tantrum and leave the relationship to come back in a few weeks or so. And I chose to take him back again and again. You simply cannot have a relationship without fighting in a constructive way. We ended up with a mountain of crap that had been swept under the carpet leaving us both resentful. When I had enough and said I would no longer collude with him around his fear of conflict and that this half a relationship thing does not work for me, he blamed me and made me wrong so I ended it this time and I ain’t going back!

  9. rhodasommer says:

    Unfortunately avoiding seems like an epidemic to me! I hope you will listen to my podcast “What Healthy Couples Know that you Don’t” where the substance continues 🙂 Good luck finding a better guy my website has a dating page that offers 23 things to watch out for!

  10. sidsrules0019 says:

    Na i don’t believe that me and my girl differ in most of the things but we never really had a major fight in the past year of our relationship and we don’t hide things from each other and we know everything even the worst of us. I guess that’s the perk of having your best friend as your girl friend

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