Singaporebrides | Relationships

January 2022

5 Myths about Pre-Marital Conflict

With the wedding on the horizon, you’re horrified to find that you’ve been getting into huge blow-out fights. Does pre-marital conflict spell disaster for your marriage? We bust 5 myths to alleviate your fears.

You sailed through the initial months of wedding planning hand in hand with big, excited smiles, but suddenly, you find yourselves bickering and fighting about the wedding details. You accuse your partner of not caring about the wedding and the marriage because they’re not helping with the planning, and your partner yells back that you’re spending way too much money on a party. The fight turns into a screaming match that leaves you in tears.

If you’ve never been in a serious fight before, the tension and stress of planning a wedding may be the catalyst that allows your differences to emerge. The ensuing conflict may be scary, especially if you’ve always believed certain myths about relationship conflict. We’re debunking some common myths about pre-marital conflict to help alleviate your fears and soothe those wedding jitters.

Nadine and Owen’s Quirky Vintage Pre-Wedding Shoot at Golden Mile Tower by Fleur and Craft

Myth 1: If you’re fighting before you’re married, your relationship won’t last

In the aftermath of a big fight, it’s common for doubts to creep in and for couples to wonder whether they’re truly compatible, or whether their relationship is meant to be. As you’re planning your wedding, the stress of preparing for the event while managing your time and your budget can put you under a lot of pressure, that can push you into your first big blow-out. If you’ve never fought so badly before, you may be afraid that the fights mean that you shouldn’t get married at all.

But here’s the truth: every long-term relationship has its share of conflict. Thinking that your marriage is doomed to divorce even before it’s begun, just because you’ve had a big fight, is simply jumping to an irrational conclusion.

Conflict in a relationship is inevitable because you’re two individuals with different upbringings, philosophies on life, thoughts, and emotions. Even the most compatible couple will experience disagreement and conflict. Conflict in a relationship isn’t a death knell for the relationship; rather, it’s an opportunity for a couple to work through their issues, and love and understand each other on a deeper level, making the relationship stronger and richer.

Myth 2: What you’re fighting about is what you’re fighting about

You’re yelling at each other about how much to spend on your wedding outfits or whom to cut from the guest list now that the restrictions have tightened, but are these issues what you’re really fighting about? Often, what couples fight about isn’t truly what bothers them deep down. Everyone has certain emotional triggers relating to their deepest needs and feelings.

When you’re fighting about how much time your partner should be spending on the wedding planning, is it because deep down you’re afraid that they don’t want to plan the wedding because they aren’t interested in getting married? When you’re trying so hard to win the argument, is it because you feel that your partner doesn’t understand you or care about what’s important to you? The problems you’re fighting about on the surface often have an underlying cause. Look deeper inside yourselves and ask why the issue bothers you so much. This introspection can lead to greater self-awareness and understanding of your own and each other’s triggers, so that you understand each other better and can meet each other’s needs more fully.

Stephanie and Li Ming’s Rustic Wanderlust Styled Pre-Wedding Shoot in Coney Island by Bridelope Productions

Myth 3: You’ll be happy only once you solve all your problems

Marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman says, “It’s a myth that if you solve your problems you’ll automatically be happy. We need to teach couples that they’ll never solve most of their problems.” After studying thousands of married couples in his research lab, Dr. Gottman realised that even the happily married couples often faced conflict. The key to their successful marriages was their ability to manage conflict, not whether or not they fought at all. Dr. Gottman says, “Although we tend to equate a low level of conflict with happiness, a lasting relationship results from a couple’s ability tomanage the conflictsthat are inevitable in any relationship.”

Conflict is inevitable, so don’t fall for the myth that you’ll be happy once you resolve every single disagreement. Your relationship will be happier if you learn how to disagree with each other without resorting to screaming, name-calling, or attacks on each other’s character. Learn some of Dr. Gottman’s conflict management skills to fight better!

Myth 4. Conflicts are about what the other person did wrong

“You never show up on time!” “You’re always working late!” Accusing your partner of what they did wrong comes naturally when you’re feeling frustrated, but have you ever considered what you really need from your partner? An accusation that your partner is always working late really means that you want to spend more time with them, so why not reframe your complaint in a positive manner?

Consider how much better this would sound to your partner: “I’ve missed spending time with you lately, with all the long hours you’ve been pulling.” Instead of an accusation that would start the conversation off on the wrong foot, turn your complaints into positive statements of your needs. Framing your disagreements or complaints as a positive need can pave the way for a faster resolving of your issue. Telling your partner what you need from them involves some vulnerability and honesty on your part, but this openness will allow you to better meet each other’s needs in your relationship, leading to higher levels of happiness and satisfaction.

Rachel and Aaron’s Intimate and Unplugged Wedding at Maison Miaja by Andri Tei Photography

Myth 5: In a conflict, one person is right

When you’re in a heated argument, you try furiously to convince your partner why you’re right and they’re wrong. All you want is for them to admit that they’re wrong and apologise for their mistakes. When they don’t back down, you start attacking their personality and character in frustration, or to prove that they’ve always made this same mistake. You go all out to win the argument.

But nobody wins in a screaming match. Contrary to our instinctive beliefs about a conflict, i.e., that we’re right and they’re wrong, the Gottmans teach that there is no “right” view in a conflict, but that each partner’s perspective is valid. Both of your views of the situation are valid, and once you can each understand where the other person is coming from, you can move forward in the conversation. Instead of insisting on their way or the high way, successful couples are open and curious about their partner’s views and emotions, and seek to understand and accept their point of view. For example, each person could take turns explaining their side of the story without interruption, until they feel understood by their partner.

Each person can then take responsibility for part of the problem, even if they don’t believe they’re completely in the wrong. Taking responsibility for any aspect of the situation that you can agree with shows your partner that you understand their point of view and that you’re willing to work through the issue as a team. The goal in a conflict should not be to win the argument, but rather to move forward with deeper understanding of your partner. By listening to their perspectives and why they feel they way they do, you grow a more intimate understanding of what makes your partner tick.

There are many myths and misconceptions about relationship conflict. Thankfully, conflict doesn’t have to spell disaster. With the right skills and the right attitude towards conflict management, conflict can actually be an opportunity for your relationship to grow deeper and stronger.

Feature image from Ivy and Julius’s Epic Mountaintop Pre-Wedding Shoot on Trolltunga, Norway by Juanmoleyfotologue

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5 Myths about Pre-Marital Conflict