Relationships usually begin with hearts and butterflies. Everything is fine and dandy. You agree with each other and you compromise. But, as the relationship moves past the “honeymoon stage,” you start to show opinions, differences, and your individual personalities. It is then that you experience a fluctuation in the harmony of the union. A relationship gets tested. If you can have healthy arguments, you can truly learn from one another.
Arguing is a major form of communication. It shows individualism, different perspectives and the ability to teach each other. Arguments aren’t necessarily an indicator that there are problems in a relationship. Psychiatrist, Dr. Gail Saltz, with NewYork Presbyterian Hospital, explains that arguing well requires skills that take time to build. Here are five of his suggestions:
* Don’t insist on being right
* Speak up as soon as you feel anger rising
* Stick to the topic at hand
* Don’t say something you will regret
Arguing doesn’t determine that a relationship is suffering. Having arguments can actually indicate that two people have their own individual ideas and opinions. They can bring them to the table and share them in a healthy manner. Relationships that do not argue can be withdrawn and full of tension, as neither party wants to share their thoughts to not hurt each other. They may bottle it all up. The lack of arguing can also be expressed as a lack of engagement to the relationship. There may be a problem with trust. Perhaps you need to ask yourself the following questions:
How committed are you if you can express your own ideas? Are you afraid of stepping over boundaries? In your relationship, can you truly be your authentic self? Are you afraid to speak your ideas and opinions?
Dr. Stephanie Sarkis, shared on Psychology Today, that there are seven ingredients to a healthy and happy relationship, and arguing is one of them. She goes on to explain, “I’ve never seen a healthy couple that doesn’t argue. They never fight, however – they argue. If a couple comes into my office and tells me they’ve never argued, something isn’t quite right. You can argue without fighting. Arguing is non-combative – you and your partner state your points of view without name-calling or raising your voice. Sometimes you agree to disagree – and that’s okay. Figure out what your ‘non-negotiables’ are – the things that you will not budge on. Now rethink that list. I like the saying, You can either be right, or married.”
There will always be challenges and conflicts in a relationship. Once the initial stages pass on to stability and longevity, people tend to fall into their own territories again. They want to be heard and understood, follow their passions, and be acknowledged for who they are. Couples who argue are expressing their desires to be heard. When done constructively, it isn’t fighting. It is expressing their needs. And happy couples hear each other. In a moment of heavy discussion. they will stand their ground, and this is a sign of mutual respect. You can respect and show vulnerability.
There is a difference between angry fighting and truly expressing your thoughts in a relationship. You learn to pick and choose your battles. You begin to understand what’s important to argue about and what you need to just let go. Author and motivational speaker, Elizabeth Gilbert, says it best: “You can measure the happiness of a marriage by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry words.” Keeping quiet is not always a holistic or healthy way to create trust in a relationship. Being submissive is not an act of valor. It is an act of vowing down to satisfy another while feeling like a martyr in the end. Therefore, a trusting and loving relationship can argue without being angry. They can show different sides to an issue.
Couples who argue also have a tendency to be passionate. Some couples enjoy the make-up sex after an intense argument. They thrive on this roller coaster ride that increase their hormones and blood pressure. Relationship expert Dr. Pam Spurr agrees stating, “The way in which you argue signals so much about a relationship. The wise couple acknowledges this and keeps an eye on how they treat each other over disagreements. Subconsciously, bickering demonstrates you care about each other even if while bickering you feel annoyed towards your partner. For instance, it shows that you do want your partner to drink less and look after their health. Or you do want them to be on time so that neither of you are stressed out when you have places to be and things to do, etc.”
Mutual respect, love, compromise, compassion and trust are important factors of a healthy relationship. Like everything in life, it’s about moderation. You never want to insult or disrespect a loved one. You can state your point in a manner that both parties can hear. When you are authentic in a relationship you can always share what you believe in. It’s all in how you present any discussion.
“The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them.” ~ Steve Hall