Reflection Base on Conflict
Managing conflict among people in intimate relationships is a complex process. As such, the paper by Overall et al. (2009) raises several issues. First, does empathy play a role in regulating intimate relationships? I have seen from my previous relationships that many relationship issues require both partners to show empathy to reach a compromise position. I feel that the authors of the reading have not provided enough information regarding the contributions of empathy in conflict resolution. Overall et al. (2009) scarcely notes that both partners need to demonstrate change in an attempt to regulate behavior in resolving relationship problems. Furthermore, Overall et al. (2009) believe that negative communication can be used to resolve conflicts among partners in intimate relationships. Linked to the effectiveness of communication strategies, I have witnessed intimate partners quarrel for no apparent reason. Again, can negative communication motivate partners to resolve a conflict? I do not think so. Therefore, until empathy is discussed in tandem with communication, the findings of the research will still be unclear.
Another question raised in the reading relates to the role of negative emotions. When can negative emotions benefit relationships during situations of conflict? The reading material outlines that stronger engagement through communication may not yield fruit in resolving conflict. On the contrary, I believe stronger engagement can help in the conflict resolution process. This is because stronger engagement comes with stronger commitment and the desire to reach resolve contentious issues. Besides, Overall et al. (2009) posit that communication during conflict relies on a number of factors like the conflicting role. This means that each partner must evaluate personal actions that may have led to the conflict. Now, once individual responsibilities have been adequately identified, it is time to examine the emotions of both partners. In my view, regardless of how a communication strategy is perfect, negative emotions may still derail the process of conflict resolution. I fail to understand why the reading material left out the impacts of negative emotions such as anger, annoyance, sadness, and guilt in conflict management. Negative emotion is the core reason we have failed to resolve some of our marriage conflicts.
Consequently, my analysis of Overall et al. (2009) paper has left much to ponder about. In this case, do negative-direct communication implemented by partners in a conflict help maintain alleged dedication and relationship quality? Though the article reinforces that relationship goals can help influence behavior, appearance, attitude, and performance of intimate partners (Overall et al., 2009), I do not agree with the proposition that criticizing a partner may have a positive long-term behavior change. Perhaps, the authors can explain further the significance of short and long-term behavior change in conflict management because, in my view, I consider criticizing partners a futile action. Does it mean that I can resolve a conflict relating to an unfaithfulness claim by simply criticizing my partner? My interest is in short-term conflict resolution. As such, the article fails to provide the distinction between short and long-term behavior change.
This article has discussed the effectiveness of communication strategies like coercion, autocracy, manipulation, and supplication as tools for resolving conflicts. Based on the findings of the study, if the components are used positively, they can create an understanding and promote diplomacy in conflict resolution discussions. Regrettably, the article raises more questions than answers. Does empathy play a role in regulating intimate relationships? When can negative emotions benefit relationships during situations of conflict? Does negative-direct communication implemented by partners in a conflict help maintain alleged dedication and relationship quality? I feel that findings on the effectiveness of communication strategies in conflict resolution can be stronger if the authors address these issues arising from the article.
Overall, N., Fletcher, G., Simpson, J. & Sibley, C. (2009). Regulating partners in intimate
relationships: The costs and benefits of different communication strategies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, (96), 3, pp. 620–639.