Some people avoid conflict at all costs. Others seem to relish the idea of a good argument. Maybe you are somewhere in the middle. Wherever you fall on the conflict avoidance spectrum, being able to argue well is often a sign of a healthy relationship. It’s unrealistic to think there will never be conflict, but how you deal with it can make all the difference. Read on to learn why some arguing can be healthy and how to do it well.
The Positive Side to Arguing
It might seem counterintuitive, but arguing that occurs within the proper boundaries can foster healthy emotional expression. Again, having the proper respect and boundaries is important so a partner doesn’t feel abused. Resolving conflict can strengthen those feelings of trust and intimacy between partners and can prove to each side that a fight doesn’t mean the end of the relationship.
It’s also not healthy for either side to bottle feelings inside. This can cause unhealthy tension and stress. If left unresolved long enough, it can even cause physical health issues. Once the issue is out in the open, it is out of the darkness which can release those feelings of anxiety and fear.
Having a healthy argument also communicates to each side what is truly important in the relationship. It’s important to understand when your partner is mildly irritated verses what they like, don’t like, want, need or even where their boundaries are. Discovering these things, even through arguing, can help to foster a deeper understanding of your own feelings and a deeper intimacy and appreciation of one another. And, the best part, making up can be so much fun!
Tips for Healthy Arguing
Again, arguing should not be an everyday occurrence in a healthy relationship. However, when conflict does arise, there are ways to work though it that can lead to stronger relationships. Here are some tips to set healthy boundaries and keep your relationship intact.
Deeply committed couples don’t avoid discussing potentially hot topics. It’s best to get the issues out front and center right away, rather than wait for them to blow up later. Couples who talk openly, often and with respect for each other’s feelings avoid having issues blow up in their faces.
Couples who have mastered this art of addressing issues right away, also take things slow and steady. They don’t begin with raised voices and fists in the air, rather they start softly and take emotions into consideration. Give and take is key, with one person speaking and the other listening intently. When everyone feels they have been heard, resolution typically follows and trust is built.
It’s important to set the ground rules for these debates so feelings don’t get hurt and someone doesn’t say something they can’t take back. This keeps discussions from getting out of hand. One important ground rule for healthy arguing is to avoid name calling at all costs. Respect for each other is the key to success so no names or sarcasm. Partners will know how to push each other’s buttons but those in successful relationships avoid these tactics.
Another tip to healthy arguing is not to jump to conclusions in the middle of the argument. Make sure you give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Keep your insecurities in check and listen to what your partner has to say. And remember, ultimately, the two of you are a committed team. Don’t let a simple disagreement lead to a more serious and avoidable issue just because you let things get out of hand.
So, take a minute to determine the status of your current relationship. If the arguing has gotten out of hand, it might be time for some healthy reflection and discussion. And if you need some additional guidance and couple’s therapy, visit Caree Brown for tools and advice on healthy relationships.