Couples Therapy practitioners use a variety of therapy models and intervention techniques to help couples overcome conflicts in the relationship. One of the things we teach couples in conflict is to try to externalize the conflict. The conflict is the enemy, not the people. So when we identify the conflict cycle, we sometimes give it a name, like the “ugly monster”. The couple is then asked to imagine the ugly monster as something outside the marriage that is attacking them. They have to work together to defeat the ugly monster. This is very effective at times and serves to de-escalate the conflict.
This exercise also has the effect of giving the couple a sense of togetherness that has been missing for a while. For too long they have been drifting apart, each feeling all alone with no partner to help with daily struggles. Working at odds with each other at times.
Together, they defeat the ugly monster. Together they win for a change. Try it.