You may be surprised to discover that arguments can actually help your relationship. And it’s 100% true, but only if you know how to handle them correctly.
Dealing with arguments and fights in a relationship is hard, but fighting is what causes couples to break up. That’s why it’s the most important skill you can practice for the health of your relationship. Putting a combined effort into handling fights constructively with your partner is well worth it.
When you’re in a truly healthy relationship, arguments are one of the most important ways it can thrive. Couples who dispute each other in healthy ways are scientifically proven to last longer than those who don’t.
So how can you tell the difference between healthy arguments and unhealthy fights? It starts by recognizing that you and your partner are not always going to agree on everything — and that there are both healthy and unhealthy ways to express that.
Let’s look at the “extremes.”
If you and your partner are simply sharing viewpoints with each other to come to a peaceful and agreeable conclusion, that’s considered a healthy argument.
If you’re shouting, interrupting, and attacking your partner — or have the desire to “win” over the other person — that’s an unhealthy fight.
Of course, those are two opposite ends of a spectrum. We know most couples are somewhere in the middle. But you can use this to gage which side you’re closest to during any given conflict, clash, or debate.
After a healthy argument, you naturally feel closer to your partner, regardless of how long you’ve been with them.
You walk away with an improved, clearer understanding of each other. Being constructive and respectful of your partner’s opinions and thoughts enables you to see sides of them you may not have otherwise been open to (and same for them, with you).
That’s why after a healthy argument, you both walk away feeling more understood and validated — it intensifies your bond and heightens your relationship.
You’re reminded your relationship allows you to express yourself, share your feelings and stand firm on your own two feet without penalty or punishment.
If you resolved the argument correctly, which may take days or weeks; both you and your partner will agree that nothing has changed between you two.
Sure, you may still disagree on the subject you were arguing about, but the level at which you understand each other goes deeper than that — and it becomes more important to your relationship than what you were arguing about. It serves as an example that you both can easily come back together as a unit after you may have felt apart for the duration of the argument.
So, what about if — after an argument — you and your partner feel further apart?
That could mean you left the argument unresolved. Give it time, or come back at a later date when you’re not both so emotional and have a chance to talk about how you felt. Figure out how to fight better when you’re in a better emotional space.
Let your partner know the pain, confusions, and fear your fight provoked and see if you can work it out then.
Second, an unresolved feeling could be a sign of bigger, more serious problems in your relationship that you’re not admitting to yourselves just yet.
Ask yourself if there’s a secondary payoff you’re getting from arguments. Some couples seem to thrive on fighting and don’t even recognize they’re doing this.
It’s not just about the words you speak to resolve an argument either, but your physical actions too.
How you look at your partner, how you touch them, and the specific times you choose to face and look away from them are all important communications and should not be overlooked. Be on the lookout for that sense of closeness and connection that you can’t always get through words alone.
People talk about how mind blowing make up sex is after an argument for a reason. The arousal of the emotions stirred up during the argument is transferred to the arousal and emotions stirred up during sex.
Because you’re in a high emotional state, a lot of passion is involved. Sex is an outlet for you to let out the potential disconnects you felt during the argument.
You and your partner WILL have arguments — it’s unavoidable.
Above all, remember that blame never works — the hardest thing you can do in an argument with your partner is to take 100% responsibility for what’s happening. But this is also the most rewarding way to grow your relationship.
Look for how YOU were contributing to the conflict, not how they were. It’s your job to figure out how you contributed to the argument, and their job to figure out how they did. Let them be inspired by your leadership — lead by example, and your partner will follow.
Again — this is difficult. But if you can get arguments handled, it’s the most important, amazing, and fulfilling thing you can ever do for the health and sustainability of your relationship.
The choice is yours; you can use arguments as a tool to get the best relationship of your life… or you can let them pull you farther and farther apart.
Originally published at medium.com