Conflict Management between Couples
Sexuality is a hot topic that is supposed to be discussed in the society. There are emerging trends in sexuality such as same-sex relationships, particularly gays and lesbians. Same-sex relationships have taken many nations by storm. The idea of gay and lesbian marriages has become part and parcel of human life. Many nations have been forced to legislate on this contemporary societal issue to accommodate changes in the society. With the emerging trends in the society, it has come of interest to study the management of conflicts in both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Conflicts exist between the couples in the course of their relationships. The strained relationship between the two can derail progress in a relationship. It is important for couples to find a proper way of engaging each other to solve conflicts. There are various ways of solving conflicts in a couple. Some communicate and iron out issues amicably, some give each other cold treatment while others just ignore and hurt from inside. In heterosexual couples, there is the element of submission on the part of the woman who is expected to humble. Usually, the man has the last word in the relationship, and conflicts are solved based on the man’s decision. The question that arises is: do gay and lesbian couples manage relationship conflict differently from heterosexual ones?
Review of Evidence
This study was done in order to see whether management of relationship conflict differs in heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Conflict management is an essential part of a relationship. The traditional perspective carries the day in heterosexual relationships where the man has dominant role and the woman has a submissive one. In same-sex couples the case is different. This study was conducted on 20 couples: ten heterosexual and 10 homosexual to see how they managed conflicts between them. The couples were engaged in focus group discussions, surveys, and structured questionnaires. Review of the literature and the research instruments showed concurring results. Both heterosexual and homosexual couples managed most of their conflicts through open communication. The occurrence of a problem or a challenge in one part of the relationship was cited as detrimental in terms of its impact on the other parts of the relationship. As such, communication remained the ideal way of preventing the rampant occurrence of the problems during the management of conflicts. Furthermore, communication was used internally to solve conflicts before engaging third parties. Good communication required honesty, trust, and admission of mistakes, and finally, reconciliation would follow.
Many of the heterosexual and homosexual couples opted to take time out to go on a camp in a well reserved place, such as a hotel or a restaurant, for one or a couple of days. The reason for this is to allow them to discuss the various matters that relate to their daily interaction without interference from the children. Such discussions went a long way to ensure that the couples involved share their challenges and ideas on how to improve their interactions. Such gatherings provided a good platform for voluntary expression without any fear for stigmatization. Such meetings resulted in well-articulated ways originating from the couple on how they are going not only to engage each other but also improve their productivity. The couples felt motivated and inspired through such arrangements, as they feel valued and recognized and all their ideas worth of acceptance.
All the heterosexual couples cited involving a third party in conflict resolution when they could not agree with each other. The third party could be a pastor, counselor, parents or elderly couple. The homosexual couples had different arrangements since they would not involve religious leaders, or parents but a few went secretly to counselors. The reason cited was that homosexual couples faced a lot of stigma and even excommunication from their churches. Their church stewards rebuked them openly for engaging in this religious vice. Furthermore, the society was not kind to these relationships either. Most societies view it as a taboo that is not worth accommodating. The stigma that accompanies these people is too much, and, as such, they find it too hard to fit into the normal community life. The attitude towards same-sex relationships is still rampant as people disapprove of this marriage arrangement. The homosexual couples solved their conflicts by involving close friends who approved of their union. Most of the counselors who helped them understood the relationships based on the grounds of equality, nondiscrimination, and the demand for the respect for human rights.
Synthesis and Discussion
In both the heterosexual and homosexual relationships, there was the element of the dominant partner in the relationships. The submissive partner has a lesser say in the conflict management. The society accepts dominance in a relationship making it harder to have an egalitarian form of a relationship. The submissive partner was discriminated against when it came to conflict management. The dominant partner assumed a leadership role as a preserve, and the other partner assumed the subordinate role. Furthermore, role played by the submissive partner in both heterosexual and homosexual relationship in conflict management was less by a greater margin. This kind of domination discouraged the submissive partner from engaging in gainful discussion in the conflict management. The statistics on the number of couples who practiced equality in conflict management was very low.
This is a clear negative aftermath of discrimination against the submissive partner in relationships. Furthermore, they are not engaged maximally in the making of decisions. They are viewed as persons whose major role is to cater for the homestead, and, as such, should not be engaged in decision-making issues. They are seen as being inferior to the dominant partner. The ways of solving the conflict in the relationships seem to follow a common trend with no significant differences. The only major difference was in the involvement of religious leaders and third parties in solving conflicts
Conflict management is imperative both in short-term and long-term relationships. With the emerging changing trends in relationships, homosexual relationships became a common occurrence in the society. This has necessitated the study on the similarities and differences in the conflict management in the heterosexual and homosexual couples in the society. The review of literature and discussion revealed similarities in conflicts management. The issue of submission came up in both types of arrangements where one partner has more say and an upper hand in decision-making. This major problem causes conflicts that exist between the couples. It leads to other related problems such as noncooperation between the two and lack of proper engagement procedures. These problems bundled together can be attributed to the superiority conflict wars that exist within the relationship.
Communication was cited as the best and major way of solving conflicts. Involvement of third parties was acceptable among heterosexual couples. Homosexual couples were hesitant to involve third parties due to stigma and disapproval. A working relationship, whether same-sex or heterosexual, should be characterized by proper cooperation and coordination as any conflict will introduce breakdowns that might affect negatively on the various work processes.