Why Arguing With Your Partner Can Be Good For You

It looks like a good argument with your spouse can be not only good for your relationship, but also good for your health.

As the findings say: “Preliminary results of a University of Michigan study suggest that couples where both the husband and wife suppress their anger when one attacks the other die earlier than members of couples where one or both partners express their anger and resolve the conflict.”

Better out than in!

The key message from this study is that couples need to know how to manage conflict when it arises to be sure all problems are dealt with quickly and effectively, instead of leaving resentment simmering below the surface where it causes more harm to not only your relationship, but to yourself.

Releasing the emotions when they arise is a better option than holding them in for the sake of some immediate peace.

Unfortunately, no one trains us on how to argue with each other.

And if you’re anything like me, you’d much rather keep the peace than engage in romantic warfare.

Some people have good parents to model from. And this is a great note for parents too—if you are effective at arguing, it may be beneficial not to hide arguments from your children. Let them see you resolving problems in a mature way, and it will set them in good stead for their own lives. (But it might be best to read this MSNBC article about it before trying it at home.)

If you’re not so fortunate to be a natural debater (say you’re more of a plate-thrower or a stonewaller), here are some tips to keep in mind for your next argument.

Focus on the immediate topic

You know those arguments that start out about the wet towel left on the bathroom floor, but then suddenly morph to an all-out about how you never liked his parents anyway?

Well firstly, those arguments are a result of letting things fester. If you’d argued way back when about the in-laws factor, you wouldn’t need to bring it up now.

Try and stick to the topic at hand and don’t start airing out the blacklist of habits and grievances from the last five years of your lives together.

Don’t fight dirty

Going right for the jugular by dragging out things you know your partner is sensitive about, or calling them awful names, is not on. You may be angry, but your partner still deserves your respect.

Remember, words you throw at them during the heat of the moment will be remembered long afterwards. Keep a respectful tone and make sure you listen to your partner’s opinion as well. You will both have your own thoughts and feelings on the matter and they all need to be spoken.

Just because you’re listening to your partner’s opinion doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. But repeating back to them what they’ve said is a good way of showing them that you understand where they’re coming from. Showing that you’ve received the message this way will stop your partner from having to yell to be “heard.”

Take your time

There’s nothing wrong with taking some time to gather your thoughts and then coming back to the argument. Don’t leave it too long, but if you need to take time out from the discussion, feel free to do so.

Once you’ve both had a chance to cool down, you’re more likely to be able to talk rationally and to come to a win-win situation—which is the ideal outcome.

What’s your fighting style? Don’t be shy to admit you may not always get it right—it does take practice, and a good dose of self-control as well.

About Emma

Emma Merkas is the co-creator of couples' inspiration website $30 Date Night and author of the 'How Was It For You?' relationships and dating column in Australian newspaper, mX. You can also find her at her own blog or on Twitter @30dollardate.

Comments

  1. These are some great tips! Another one I would add is that be sure to make *I* staements instead of accusatory *you* statements. For instance- If you stay out late with your friends, I feel as if you don’t care about my feelings. Don’t say, You are such a jerk for staying out late with your friends!
    Bernice
    A lucky winner and more!

    • Great addition, Bernice! Thank you for that.

      On that note, you also made a great point of directing your criticism towards the words or actions that have made you angry instead of right at your partner.

  2. And Say Sorry Whenever Required…

    • Assuming you can get your mouth around the words, yes! 😉

      No, seriously… a lot of people really find it hard to say sorry and if you know you’ve hurt your partner’s feelings then there is nothing like a genuine apology to make them feel better.

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