How can couples fight more productively? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Jen Elmquist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Relationship Specialist, author of Relationship Reset, on Quora:

So often couples believe that the presence of conflicts, particularly unsolvable ones, means that there is a fundamental problem with the overall relationship. Couples may think, "We are just not the right match," when the truth is that you are going to find sustainable conflict in any relationship you have with anyone. Really, at the end of the day, it is what you believe about conflict that is going to cause you the most discomfort.

There are three insights on conflict that can make the experience much easier to navigate:

1. All couples will have 2-3 recurring conflicts throughout their relationship. These will come up again and again over the years because they are rooted in fundamental value differences--things that you are not willing to compromise on.

2. Anger is the unavoidable byproduct of feeling disappointed, disillusioned, disrespected, misunderstood, hurt and even sad. All of these emotions can be present during disagreements. Your understanding of anger and how you can work with it will dramatically affect how you fight.

3. People typically use one of five different conflicts styles to negotiate and process the emotion of anger. These include discussing, distancing, demanding, disappearing and destroying. When couples use the same style, conflict can be easier. However, it is most common that couples have different styles which means they are not fighting in the same way. This difference exasperates the conflict leading couples to spend more time fighting about how they fight than the real issue at hand.

Making some initial discovery into what your chronic conflicts are and what your firm positions hold can help couples navigate recurring arguments better. Learning about what anger means to you and how you are able to understand and manage it inside yourself is key to being able to process and communicate during disagreements. And, defining your conflict styles and working on supporting each other's style rather than resisting it can significantly change the environment and outcome of your conflicts.

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Published on: Oct 2, 2017