In my private practice, most couples I meet, particularly men, think arguing with their partner is bad. They think if you argue with your partner, both aren’t meant to be together and should break up.
Some couples say it’s a good thing they never argue and wear it like a badge of honour.
So is arguing good or not good?
If you think about it realistically, two people who come from different worlds, backgrounds, childhoods, values, beliefs, experiences and genders are bound to have differing opinions. Regarding different genders, men’s and women’s brains are wired differently so of course they are going to disagree.
I think arguing is healthy. However, it isn’t about whether you argue instead it’s about how you argue and how often it happens.
Do you disagree and have difficult conversations about uncomfortable things? Are you honest?
You need to be honest with yourself and your partner about the truth. Since we have different preferences, even on simple things, how we clean the house, where we want to eat, whether we want to spend money, how we parent, how we have sex, when we have sex, what is flirting, what is monogamy, asking these difficult questions helps you learn about each other.
During a conversation about a disagreement that gets heated, a healthy couple will remain respectful and not contemptuous. They recognize both partners see things differently and are willing to compromise and meet in the middle. This is how I coach my clients during a session, by helping them meet in the middle. Recognize that both individuals see things differently. One is triggered by his or her past. However, both respect each other and are able to tell each other how they feel hurt without putting each other down.
If you communicate you can have many arguments and be okay. It’s about how you communicate, ensuring that it’s respectful and not belittling or insulting to the other person.
How frequently do you argue? If you are arguing every day then you may need to talk to a therapist about being more understanding and accepting of your partner.
A lot of us may have respectful arguments but are unable to let things go, causing these arguments to happen daily. In these cases you have to ask yourself, “what percentage of the time do I enjoy my partner?” If 70 percent of the time you are trying to change them or arguing about the same issue then you and your partner may need counselling.
It’s about the positive versus the negative ratio in the relationship. As long as the positive is higher and you’re being respectful in your relationships, then you’re in a good place.
If you find that you lash out in your arguments and you rage (throw things) or stonewall (stop talking to them), this likely makes your partner feel rejected, alone and unsafe.
Tips: See a therapist if the above applies to you and ask yourself the following:
- How do you argue?
- How frequently do you argue?
- Are you respectful when you argue?
- Is there something that you can let go of?
If I meet a couple that never argues then it is likely that one of them is silencing themselves and is afraid of confrontation. Almost always the resentment gets to them and impacts their sex life first and eventually they rebel because they are suppressing themselves.
So I encourage you to argue with your partner in a healthy manner. Enjoy the process of communicating and love your partner through it.