How Conflict Helps You Reach Real-Life Love
September 22, 2017
How Conflict Helps You Reach Real-Life Love

By Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil

The unfortunate truth about marriage is that it's not easy. It requires extreme effort. Why? Because conflict is inevitable after the "honeymoan" and falling in love stage dissipates. Our unrealistic expectations in marriage come from when we fell in love--when euphoric brain chemicals kept us up all night and "high" with a drug induced state. This preferred state sets us up for the letdown when these hormones die down and stress, life, and relationship differences get in the way and cause conflict. Conflict is actually an enhancement--it challenges us, helps us grow, and promotes a great sex life. If you are incompatible it means you are compatible, and picking a person who gives you the most trouble means you are on the right track. 

Conflict is our friend, not our enemy, as it brings us closer to our partner. The challenge is in building the bridge from conflict to passion--the glue that keeps us trucking. If we saw conflict and effort as the door opening up passion and harmony we would embrace and welcome it as a true test of love. We would not fear it, or run from it, or divorce because of it. We would make up, not break up. If not, we would be doomed to repeat the same pattern in the next relationship once the honeymoon period was over. 

Here are some simple tips on how to reignite the romance magic in your relationship, and help you have an affair with your own partner instead: 

Put each other first. Before work. Before children. 

Connect with a 30-second kiss daily. This ignites the cuddle hormone-providing your brain with oxytocin-that bonds you to your partner and makes you feel attached and safe. A 20-second hug gives you a dopamine rush that helps you feel in love with your partner and alive.

Bring on novelty and excitement. Get out of your rut or comfort-zone by changing up your routines for some added stimulation and surprise.  

No electronic communication during the workday. This includes emails, texts, and phone calls. Keeping electronic communication to emergencies only helps create mystery and yearning for when you reunite at night. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be thinking about your partner. 

Think about your partner 3 times during your workday. And keep the thoughts positive only!

Set up 10 minutes of face-to-face time at night to connect and check in. This is a time to reconnect and talk about your days, dreams, or interests. No discussion of problems, scheduling or your children. 

Give your partner space. Even if only an hour a day or week. Lack of space and time apart is one of the biggest frustrations in marriages. People start giving up hobbies and interests when they don't allow their partner the space to enjoy the things they did before the "I" became a "We." When you allow for time apart, there is less of a chance of boredom, and it enhances your time together because there is more to share.

Do a "brush with death." If you've been practicing the tips above and you feel like you need to take it to the next level, take some time apart to enhance appreciation and passion for each other. 

Why does everyone leave when the going gets rough? It is supposed to be hard-staying in love. It's the hard work that later provides the benefits as you grow together, and turns you into the individual and much-improved partner that you become. 

It can be easy to navigate conflict if you don't run from it and learn the skills that help you promote empathy and safety. Conflict bonds you when you learn how to traverse it together as a team. Robert Browning said, "grow old along with me, the best is yet to be."  The reward is in the struggle that gives us real-life love if we hang in long enough and not leave when the going gets tough. Why not makeup not break up? 

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil is a renowned relationship therapist with more than 35 years experience, a global phone-based practice, and a private practice in New York City with a 98 percent success rate!. She’s authored best sellers, "Make Up, Don’t Break Up," a book turned movie, “Adultery: The Forgivable Sin,”, and “Financial Infidelity.” She has appeared on The Oprah Show and was chosen as one of Oprah's top favorite shows in 25 years. Get instant access to her free videos at Get tips and resources for singles and couples to Make Up, Don’t Break up at Permission granted for use on

Posted by Staff at 11:30 AM