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Healthy Relationships
August 16, 2023
How to Love and Fight Like a Dynamic Duo

Mahnoor Zulfiqar

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How to Use Love and Conflict Languages to Strengthen Your Relationships

You may have heard of love languages, which are the 5 different ways we appreciate receiving affection the most. These include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Understanding which love language you prefer can help guide your loved ones on how to best express their affection towards you.

Similar to love languages, there are also conflict languages, which are the different communication styles or patterns people use during arguments. These can stem from a combination of things, including your upbringing, past experiences, cultural influences, communication skills, or preferred patterns. Depending on the situation or your emotional state, they are not fixed traits, and you may use different styles or even a combination. Understanding and navigating the different conflict languages can lead to healthier and more effective conflict resolution in relationships.

The 5 different conflict languages 

  1. Avoidance: A pattern of dealing with conflicts by suppressing emotions and withdrawing from confrontation or difficult conversations.
  2. Aggression: Expressing frustrations, anger, or dissatisfaction in a forceful, hostile, or confrontational manner. It involves using aggressive behaviours, such as yelling, insulting, threatening, or even physical aggression, which is never okay.
  3. Passiveness: Shying away from verbally addressing and expressing needs, concerns, or opinions during conflicts. This can involve suppressing emotions.
  4. Passive-aggression: Expressing feelings and frustration indirectly or subtly rather than directly addressing the issue. It involves behaviour and communication that appears non-confrontational on the surface but carries underlying tones of aggression or hostility.
  5. Assertiveness: Expressing needs, boundaries, and concerns in a direct, respectful, and confident manner. It involves clearly expressing your feelings and expectations while actively listening to and respecting your partner’s perspective.

Why is understanding your partners love and conflict languages useful?

Recognizing why you and your partner use a specific language is the key to increasing understanding, tolerance, and connection during moments of affection and conflict. Allow each other to express and be understood. Learning what love languages your partner needs or why they use a specific conflict language can enhance your understanding of each other. This also reduces misunderstandings by creating clarity and awareness of each other’s communication styles and affection preferences. Discussing each other’s needs, preferences, and perspectives can create a supportive space for continued communication.

Recognizing and adapting to each other’s love and conflict languages promotes flexibility, compromise, and a willingness to mutually meet each other’s needs. This can also help you navigate disagreements with more empathy and respect, leading to more constructive and mutually satisfying conflict resolution. Seeing each other put in effort to really understand and meet each other’s needs increases appreciation, compassion, and emotional intimacy.

How to implement this technique

Understanding love and conflict languages requires ongoing effort and a genuine desire to improve your relationship. Identify and communicate your and your partner’s love languages and recognize and understand each other’s conflict languages. To do this and understand each other’s feelings and needs, you must practice active listening and open, honest communication. Delve into why you resonate with specific languages.

Show patience and understanding as you both navigate and grow through implementing this. There may be setbacks as you get into it but try to maintain a hopeful outlook. Remember, change takes time. Practice compromise, flexibility, and empathy in your relationship to find solutions that make you both happy.

It’s also important to keep learning and adapting as your relationship grows. Stay open to talking about each other’s changing preferences and needs. Understanding love and conflict languages in a relationship can strengthen it by enhancing empathy and connection. This understanding can empower you to communicate effectively, show love in ways that resonate with your partner, and navigate conflicts with mutual respect, ultimately strengthening your bond.

Incorporating love and conflict languages into your relationship can transform the way you connect. Just as understanding your partner's love language helps you express affection, recognizing their conflict language improves conflict resolution. This approach fosters empathy, patience, and growth through ongoing communication. By embracing these languages, you strengthen your bond, navigating challenges with unity. Ultimately, this understanding enriches your relationship, enabling you to face difficulties with togetherness and grace.

To learn more about the love and conflict languages and how to use them to strengthen your relationships, check out Shift therapist Mahnoor Zulfiqar’s past virtual deep dive: Couples Clash Course: How to Love and Fight Like a Dynamic Duo.


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