The pressures of modern life can cause a wide range of potential disputes in your relationship. When you throw family into the mix, this grows tenfold. Different personalities within families can clash, placing a strain on the relationship and causing it to suffer.

Most common causes of conflict

There are lots of reasons why conflicts can arise, but a main area of contention related to family and pressurised environments is often the division of chores and responsibilities within the family home. This argument usually arises when one person in the couple feels they’re doing more than the other, leading to feelings of resentment.

Another point of conflict can be external pressures from other family members. People don’t always get along, and that’s OK, but it can become very taxing on a relationship if there’s disagreement between partners and key family members.

Top tips

Clearly communicate when you need help. When it comes to chores and responsibilities around the house, try not to assume that your partner knows when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It’s much more productive to clearly and uncritically explain what you’re struggling with and how they can help you.

Maintain a united front. When dealing with difficult family members it’s important to keep a united front through open and honest communication, and teamwork. Lean on each other if a difficult situation arises and speak openly about the best ways to tackle that issue. Making these decisions together ensures you’re both comfortable with the outcome and builds intimacy in the relationship.

Establish and maintain boundaries. Whether these are boundaries around roles and responsibilities, or boundaries around difficult family members, it’s important to discuss what you’re both comfortable with in your relationship and stick to these principles.

“My top tip for couples has to be learning to communicate well with one another. Appreciating and understanding the other person’s point of view, their nuances and needs, means we come from a place of open mindedness and mutual respect.”

Lindsay George, BACP therapist

When to see a therapist  

When the attention goes off the relationships, that’s the time to go into therapy, especially when everything turns to conflict. Therapy can help when things get too much, or your mental and physical health suffer. Going to therapy can help you establish what’s going on for you under the surface and deal with those issues as a team.