Southampton, PA Psychologist
Stephen Britchkow-Office and Home Visits Available
Serving Lower Bucks, Eastern Montgomery Counties and NE Philadelphia
What Makes Relationships Work?
I'd like to help you create more intimacy, trust and connection in your relationship and marriage. Call 215-322-6781 today for a no-obligation phone consultation to see if my services are right for you.
Over 30 Years Experience
Conflict in relationships and marriage is unavoidable. Like fire, it can be used in a constructive or harmful manner. The skills needed to handle the inevitable disagreements such as money, time, housework, sex, priorities, the kids, etc., are crucial and can save a marriage. Fighting isn't predictive of divorce. Avoidance, disengagement, contempt, criticism, and the silent treatment are.Seventy percent of the issues couples deal with does not really need to be solved, just discussed well. Avoid predictably bad times for discussion: dinner, bedtime, just getting home from work or while preoccupied with a project or task. Place a priority on your relationship by carving out time for its upkeep, such as setting aside a weekly meeting time to discuss your relationship. Gender differences discussed below describe why this can be more challenging.
Men and Women have core emotional differences in responding to stressful conflict:
- If there's a conflict women want to talk about it.
- Men, however, often need to pull away, particularly if there is a focus on what he may be doing wrong. He may feel the need to intermittently withdraw into himself. One of the reasons for this is physical. Men react with more blood flow to their muscles. They get fidgety, and women think they're not listening. Negative feedback can be interpreted by men as not measuring up, causing shame. Men are better able to stay in the room and listen to women if they don't think they're being harshly blamed for their distress. Using positive reinforcement instead of criticism will make it more likely that the other partner will do more of the things that are wanted.
- A woman experiences suffering whenever her husband shouts at her, ignores her, or otherwise does something that scares her and seems to threaten their bond.
- Men and women should strive to empathize with each other's vulnerabilities which they don't feel to the same degree -- namely fear and shame.
- It's hard to imagine most people being capable of reaching out to their partners in the heat of an argument. However, it can be done. Men can learn how to step up to the plate and stop withdrawing or being reactive, and women can acquire a mindset to understand that her husband really does want to make her happy and to stop being so critical. Ultimately, couples have to decide that the relationship is more important than all those things they do that annoy each other. Couples counseling can be particularly valuable in helping to resolve these issues.
- Both men and women need to also connect nonverbally and when that need is satisfied verbal discussion of difficult subjects is easier to tackle. The deepest moments of intimacy occur through touch, sex, doing things together. This increases the likelihood of productive discussion and reduces the chances of hurtful actions. When couples feel connected, men want to talk more and women need to talk less, so they meet somewhere in the middle. Each partner should endeavor to make a conscious effort to consider the other's point of view.
Useful steps to resolve disagreements:
home | about stephen | schedule now | services
brochure | fees and payments | interview | locations
service area | contact