Within romantic relationships, arguing is seen a bad thing.
But is it, really?
Of course, arguments feel terrible, and no one wants to argue. But although arguments may revolve around sensitive subjects, addressing issues and communicating problems can actually strengthen your relationship for both you and your partner…if you do it the right way.
How Arguments Help Your Relationship
When you argue, you’re really just expressing your viewpoint and reasoning about a specific area of conflict. The following are ways in which this can be good you’re your relationship.
1. They relieve stress and anxiety
When conflicts arise within relationships, it is easy to avoid addressing the problems, especially if one of you is afraid of confrontation.
Unfortunately, when arguing, confrontation is necessary. Fighting through an issue can still be stressful; however, the burden of stress is short lived compared to the stress that may build up if important issues are ignored and left unaddressed.
Related: 10 Ways You Can Reduce Stress
According to relationship expert Dr. Ken Druck, author of The Real Rules of Life, “In the absence of direct, forthright communication, the “debt” for conflict-avoidant and passive-aggressive behavior eventually comes due. We trip and stumble over the very things we have swept under the rug.”
Arguments may induce brief stress, but leaving things under the rug will cause much, much more in the long run.
2. They help you express your feelings through communication
Arguing allows both you and your partner to express your feelings and ideas relating to the issue. Once all emotions and opinions are expressed within the argument, you can continue to develop a solution or resolution that will work for both of you.
Related: The 7 C’s Of Happy Relationships
This ultimate solution, and the act of arguing to get there, can actually strengthen your relationship as a whole. According to Dr. Druck, “Couples who develop healthy habits for dealing with upsets, miscommunications, mistakes or disagreements are more argument resistant and resilient.”
3. They show each other that you care
The fact that you are taking the time to address and discuss the problem shows that you and your partner care enough to work together to resolve it, instead of just letting it go only to bubble up again down the road.
How to Argue in a Relationship, the Right Way
Though arguing with your partner can be healthy, it is important to understand how to argue in a relationship the right way in order to avoid meaningless fighting. Here’s a few tips to approach the conflict productively:
Related: How To Communicate Effectively
1. Consider your timing
While confronting an issue is encouraged, the best time to identify and resolve a conflict may not be immediately after the problem occurs. Sometimes it’s best to take time, cool off and try to understand your partner’s perspective before jumping into a heated debate.
2. Keep an open mind
One of the hardest parts of fighting is taking a step back and considering the other person’s position and point of view. Though we tend to focus on expressing our personal opinions and emotions during an argument, it’s important to listen to your partner’s point of view.
By paying attention to one another’s feelings and opinions, it will be easier to obtain compromise and resolution at the end of the argument.
3. Agree to disagree
Not every issue has a “correct” solution. Often, there is no right way to resolve a pressing issue. The sole act of expressing emotions and discussing the problem can be a good thing in and of itself.
By agreeing to disagree, you and your partner can acknowledge the ambiguity of the matter and move on in accepting each other’s viewpoints, even if you don’t come up with a perfect outcome.
4. Collaborate and compromise
Approach the argument with a “win-win” stance, where your goal is centered around your relationship rather than your individual needs or desires. By focusing on the partnership rather than who “wins”, you and your partner will be able to better work towards a solution.
While arguing with your partner can be stressful, it’s an important part of maintaining an honest and open relationship. Identifying, addressing, and communicating through problems that arise can help each partner express his or her point of view in order to develop the right resolution.
This article was reviewed and approved by relationship expert Dr. Ken Druck. Published In June 2013 and updated in July 2014.
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