Arguing Can Make Your Relationship Healthier

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relationship coachingDo you believe that to be happy and blissfully in love, you should never argue with your partner?

Do arguments with your significant other always make you feel like your relationship is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode?

If you said yes, you’re in company with almost every other person who has been in a relationship.

There is a belief that regular arguments spell the end of any relationship, and that if those arguments didn’t occur, then everything would be perfect.

It understandable that we come to this conclusion. We never equate romance and true love with a couple who argue. We imagine perfect couples to never have a single disagreement, to be in constant harmony with each other, agreeing at every twist and turn.

My clients often sum up for me why their relationship is in trouble with “we argue all the time”.

But it’s not their arguing that concerns me. It’s how they argue that holds the clues as to whether they’re likely to last the distance or not.

Why Arguing Isn’t Always Negative

Arguing shouldn’t always be seen as a negative element of your relationship. In fact, compared to a couple that never argue, it could be that your relationship is actually in better standing.

Why? Because arguing is indicative of two people who each have their own views and opinions, and are willing to share them. Arguing means that there is communication, and a desire to share the issues that are important to the people in the relationship.

In a relationship where there is barely a heated conversation, it could be that one or both parties don’t feel safe enough to express themselves. They doubt whether they can be honest about their feelings and be heard, respected, and still loved.

A lack of argument can also signal a lack of commitment. If you just don’t care about the longevity of your relationship with someone, you might just keep your head down and ignore anything that comes up because, ultimately, it won’t matter in the end.

relationship coaching

Arguing can be unhealthy though.

If you’re arguing over small, petty things just to get interaction, or to be validated, or to try and push someone away out of fear or rejection it’s unhealthy for both your relationship, and for you. Take a good look at what you really want from those confrontations and find healthier ways to have your needs met.

Arguing Well

The fact is that blending your life with another person’s isn’t always going to go smoothly. It takes work and there will be times when differences come between you. The important thing is to learn to navigate these times so that you can come out the other side feeling more secure, intimate and respected in your relationship.

None of us get taught how to argue with our significant other. There’s usually no standard instruction on how to deal with the myriad of possible arguments we might get into with someone we love, but knowing how to argue well is one of the best tools for a long term relationship. It can close the divide between a love that is slowly disintegrating, and a love that is true, strong and more intimate with years gone by.

So, how do you argue well? I’m so glad you asked, take a look below:

Raise Your Issue Early

Don’t spend days steaming over something that is bothering you, letting resentment and anger build until boiling point. Raise your issue with your partner early and address it while it’s still relevant. Time spent dwelling on a problem and stirring it around your head with all sorts of theories, thoughts and conclusions, that might not be true, can blow any problem up into something much bigger.

Stay On Point

Once you start discussing your concerns with your partner, try to remain on point. Stick to the subject at hand and be aware of bringing in other topics or reverting to things that happened in the past. Don’t create a bigger argument by tacking on every negative thing that has happened since you met.

Leave Everyone Else Out Of It

Your discussion is with your partner, and it is regarding a difference in views between you and them, not anyone else. Regardless of what ‘evidence’ you have in the form of others observations or opinions, leave them out of your conversation. Speak YOUR truth, share YOUR thoughts, and let others raise their concerns if they so choose.

Remain Respectful

Remaining respectful is not only about respecting your partner, but also about respecting yourself. Stay calm, argue with honour and don’t resort to name calling, insults, threats, sarcasm, or yelling. Not only will these harm your relationship, they’ll also downgrade the level of respect your partner has for you as well. Be mindful of the things you say and don’t underestimate the damage that can be done with a poor choice of words. Once they’re said, you can’t take them back.

Listen

There’s absolutely no point to your argument if you intend to only get your point across and not hear a single thing your partner says. The more this happens, the less likely your relationship is to survive. Once you’ve explained yourself calmly and clearly stop and listen to your partner’s side of the story. To be able to resolve the disagreement and move forward, both of you need to hear and understand where the other person is coming from.

Don’t Fight To Be Right

If the best outcome of an argument, in your eyes, is to be right then your arguments will always do more damage than good to your relationship. For you to be right, you have to make your partner wrong, which isn’t about compromise or resolution, it’s about winning. The very fact that you are disagreeing means that you both have different views and opinions about what’s going on and, while you don’t have to agree with your partner, your aim should be to explore what those are, learn more about each other and realise that while you have different viewpoints, you can compromise and still enjoy being unique individuals.

Don’t Walk Out Or Stonewall

If your anger is boiling over and you need a break to calm yourself, then walking away might be the best idea. But if you’re walking away just to avoid the conversation then you make it more difficult to reach a resolution. The same goes with stonewalling. No one likes to be ignored and shutting down or sulking can give the message that what is being said isn’t important enough to discuss and it just prolongs the argument.

Time It Right

Choose an appropriate time to raise your issues with your partner. Don’t decide to bring everything up when you have family over, when the kids or visitors are sitting at the table with you, or when your partner is obviously already stressed or tired. The best time to have any kind of important discussion is when you’re both calm, have time on your own, and are in an environment where you both feel safe and comfortable.

So, next time you are arguing with your partner, don’t forecast the end of your relationship. Step up, and decide to argue well. It takes practice but, with time and commitment, you’ll soon find that not only do you have less arguments, but you have better quality arguments that actually deepen and strengthen your love.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Why Shared Values Are More Important Than Shared Interests | Rachael Lay

  2. Pingback: When Compromising Makes Things Worse | Rachael Lay

  3. Anna

    November 24, 2015 at 3:51 am

    This was a great article! I loved reading it. I just wrote something like that similar on my blog as well 🙂

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