One night, my husband and I had a fight, the first since we had been married. I was so frustrated and agitated that I fled the apartment in tears. I had so many things running through my mind blocking my sense of rationality, when it occurred to me that too many of us encounter horrible fights with our significant others ending with tears, slammed doors, broken objects, hurt feelings, and even broken hearts. I realized that it is time to study interpersonal conflict in depth, I said to myself, “this is what I am writing my thesis about.” At that moment, I brainstormed the idea of studying conflict. I asked: How often does conflict occur within most relationships? Is this feeling normal? How do people manage conflict and what are things I can do to elevate conflict in the future? Remembering this topic from a previous course, I decided to further research the topic and then create a survey to see if the researched proved valid.
Interpersonal conflict manages to stay out of common discussion even though it is completely prevalent among relationships. Jeanne Segal, Ph.D and Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D (2007) say disagreements will occur in any intimate relationship. Two people’ can’t possibly always have the same needs, opinions and expectations. Successfully resolving differences is essential for the preservation and growth of any relationship.
Conflict is often times thought of as being negative, unfavorable, and unnecessary; however, conflict can be productive and is entirely inevitable in any relationship. It is important to consider the issue of conflict and conflict management in relationships because everybody belongs to and needs relationships. If people can better understand conflict they could potentially decrease the amount of conflict and increase relationship satisfaction.
I have taken many courses that have explained relationships using different theories. For instance, in Theories of Human Communication I learned that Deborah Tannen’s Genderlect theory explains how and why men and women communicate within relationships. Additionally, the Relational Communication course has taught me how to manage relationships depending on relationship type and using diverse maintenance strategies. In order to illustrate the importance of understanding conflict I will be using information from Theories of Human Communication, Gender Communication, and Relational Communication. Additionally, I have conducted library research and reviewed relevant literature to discover what studies have already found and what people in real life relationships know about relationship conflict regarding why conflict occurs in various relationship types, how often conflict happens, the duration of conflict, and the effects this has on relationship satisfaction and quality. I gathered data from a survey I created through the means of KSU online survey system. Continue reading ‘Relationship Conflict: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly- Amanda J. Brandenberger’ »