Does Arguing Increase Satisfaction in Relationships?
Fighting Fair In Relationships
Do you and your partner start a conversation only to end up yelling, upset, or even more confused afterwards?
Does one parter LOVE communication, while the other avoids any topic that resembles the words ‘we should talk’? Does this lead to counterproductive discussions?
If you can relate to ANY of the above questions, keep reading…
Communication is a conducive part of every relationship. Therefore, your communication and listening skills are just as important to the success or failure of your relationship (along with other things).
So how do you Learn to Fight Fair with your Partner?
First, I will preface this by saying that a relationship without any arguments does not equate to a successful and happy relationship. One of the reasons for this, is because couples that rarely argue may be too busy avoiding the difficult conversations. Things may not be discussed until it is too late or the individual(s) are at their wits’ end. According to Joseph Grenny, “Couples who argue effectively are 10 times more likely to have a happy relationship than those who sweep difficult issues under the carpet.”
So you can disagree on one or several different topics, and still practice healthier and more effective communication skills with your partner such as the following:
1. Manage your Expectations:
You and your partner may enter the conversation expecting different outcomes, thinking about your own valid points, and what you will say to make the other person see it form your point of view. But it is important to keep your expectations in check and not project your own feelings and thoughts of what you think may happen onto the conversation or onto your partner. A practical way to do this is to express to your partner what you would like to achieve through the conversation (for example: I’d like to come up with solutions, or I’d like to fix this problem, or I’d like for us to understand one another etc.).
2. Start with the Facts:
Your emotions are important, but it’s helpful to start out with the facts of the event(s) while being careful not to get too caught up in the “he said, she said, you did, you said” getting too specific on who did what and how will destroy any chances of having a productive conversation. For instance, you can say “when you mentioned this in front of the kids it made me feel this way” or “when I saw that you were not where you said you’d be, I felt this way.” You’re stating the facts and then you are explaining how it made you feel. This gives your partner the information that they need in order to explain what happened, apologize, and create a plan moving forward on how to handle similar situations in the future.
*Tip: State this as an opinion rather than in an accusatory manner. It will help your partner feel less attacked and less inclined to put a wall up.*
3. Practice Honesty and ‘Start Overs’:
Listen, we all mess up and make mistakes. Sometimes you may repeat the same dumb actions over and over, which at that point would qualify as a choice and if it’s negatively impacting your relationship you need to change; if you can’t do it on your own then find the appropriate support system(s) to help. If that’s the case, honesty really is the best policy. Even if it’s something you’ve been holding onto or holding back from saying or confessing to your partner, it’s healthier to just let it go. There’s a saying that goes “your secrets keep you sick.” And this is true within any relationship. Once you begin with a lie you have to pile more and more on top of that lie to cover it up, but at the end of the day if that lie is rooted into the foundation of your relationship, then a whirlwind of problems will result from that. So hit that reset button, ask for forgiveness, or do the forgiving.
At any point in an argument if you are wrong, just say so. Practice with me: “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” Also, hitting the reset button, is so helpful for some couples because it allows them to pause, take a break from the conversation and come back to it within 30-minutes to an hour. Trying to come up with a solution during heightened emotional state does not always work out. Remember, just as you shouldn’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion, trying to resolve a problem while highly emotional is not healthy.
Try using some of these tips and share them with your partner, friends, and family. If these tips don’t seem to work for you, it may be time to see a couples therapist to help mediate where you and your partner are going wrong in your approach. The goal is to find a way of communicating and listening that is conducive for your relationship and does not involve emotional putdowns, yelling, or avoidance. A couples therapist is an unbiased individual that is there to help understand the patterns and habits you and your partner have when you argue. A couples therapist can equip you both with the appropriate tools, resources, and techniques to improve your communication, listening, and overall satisfaction of your relationship, but only if you are willing to step up and work on this with your partner.
If you are currently experiencing physical abuse from your partner visit: https://www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233.