How Fighting Can Improve Your Relationship
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~ July, 2021 ~ As much as you’ve listened to your partner’s deepest, darkest secrets and endured their most interesting smells over mornings in bed—the fact remains that you and your significant other remain two different people. This means that you live and experience life differently and may sometimes interpret situations in ways that don’t always agree with the other.
In certain cases, these differences can lead to squabbles in the relationship. And while it is hardly ever enjoyable to spend possible cuddle time hashing out an argument, these fights may sometimes be a key element in strengthening the bond you and your partner share.
In this article, we’ll be examining fights within the relationship: how to go about them, what to avoid when arguing, and how you and your better half may benefit from exchanging a few words in disagreement.
How to Fight In a Relationship
It’s almost a given that a fight will erupt at some point in a relationship—this is bound to happen when you live or spend considerable time with another person. The good news is that getting angry with your partner is perfectly normal and perfectly healthy—that is, when handled correctly.
When you feel that first temper flare in disagreement with something your partner did or said, breathe and take a step back. Instead, try out the following tips to have a peaceful squabble with your significant other.
Choose Your Words Carefully
Even though emotions are usually high during fights, it’s always important to make measured statements and give your partner calm responses during disputes.
Ultimately, effective communication should be at the core of every spat.
This means abandoning that sharp and painful retort you had planned. It also means opting for kind words and avoiding heavy language like ‘idiot,’ ‘fool,’ or ‘stupid’ when referring to your partner during fights.
The wrong choice of words can easily worsen a fight and further strain relations with your partner. By speaking carefully during arguments, you give yourself the option to be more intentional with getting your message across more clearly.
Look at Things From Their Point of View
Even though you may be dealing with your hurt and anger following actions your partner made, it’s important to look past yourself and try a different perspective during arguments.
‘Does he have a point?’, ‘could I really have been more accommodating of their needs?’, ‘maybe I should understand when she doesn’t want to speak immediately after a long day at work.’
By looking at things from your partner’s point of view, you not only permit yourself a chance to examine things from all angles, but you also consider the emotional needs of a person you love over winning an argument.
Listen With an Open Mind
It’s important to go into any conflict with the mindset of a peaceful, compassionate resolution. If every statement is geared towards hurting your partner’s feelings or proving that you’re right, this can harm the relationship.
Not only will it discourage your partner from talking through difficulties in the relationship, but this behavior may also ultimately drive a wedge between the both of you—an unwanted development if you hope for a future together.
Instead, listen to your partner speak, and make sure to ask questions to ensure that very little gets lost in translation.
Make Requests Instead of Complaints
Your message may be more clearly communicated if you chose requests rather than complaints with your partner.
Instead of saying, “why don’t you ever clean up after yourself,” try something like, “the bedroom is starting to get messy—would you mind clearing up your things?”
Speaking directly to, rather than down at, your partner can help avoid tensions and maintain respect through interactions within the relationship.
Give Each Other Enough Time to Speak
To get all your worries across, you and your partner must give room to air all grievances. When speaking, avoid making interruptions, except when clarification is needed—this should be done politely and in a non-aggressive tone.
In some cases, settling an argument may not be possible within a day, especially when tempers and emotions repeatedly flare up. You might need to carve out a clear and agreed-to time to continue your discussions healthily in such situations.
Wrong Ways to Fight in a Relationship
While fighting with your partner can benefit your relationship, it is mostly done within respectful parameters that avoid putting anyone down.
When partners fight wrongly in a relationship, it can have far-reaching effects. Studies have shown that conflicts within marriages can lead to anxiety, depression, and even eating disorders. Even worse, in marriages with children, this practice can affect how parents perform with their children and worsen relationships between siblings.
Here are fighting methods to avoid in your relationship:
- Making threats
- Calling each other names
- Making comparisons with other couples
- Involving your children in your disputes
- Giving each other extended periods of the silent treatment
Likewise, when fights devolve into physical violence, this is a sign of a very unhealthy relationship. It is always best to leave an abusive partner to maintain your well-being and prevent worse or more brutal treatment.
Should you or your partner frequently partake in fights that include the non-violent components mentioned previously, it may help to speak honestly about change. For trusted results, a counselor may be employed to head discussions.
Benefits of Fighting in a Relationship
When done correctly, fighting can be a learning experience for partners to help improve the relationship. Here’s how.
Fighting Is a Sign That You Both Care About Your Relationship
Fighting is an easy way to determine if your partner is still in it for the long haul with you. A problem-free way to go about life is to roll with the punches and avoid drama.
Partners who are willing to go through the uncomfortable strain of disagreements—especially those using kind and clear communication—are still invested in the success of their relationship.
It Strengthens Your Relationship
When partners fight within an environment that allows clear expression, free of cruel words—this can help strengthen their bond.
With both partners actively participating to resolve the disagreement, there’s comfort in knowing that conflicts can be maturely and warmly handled without risking the relationship’s future.
With this, partners can freely bring up disappointments and unhappiness without leaving room for time and resentment. Ultimately, this can help to strengthen the relationship and improve its odds of lasting.
You Learn More About Your Partner
Somewhere in the process of listing out your grievances and offering your partner clarifications in uncertain areas—the both of you learn new things about each other.
It may be communication methods, such as their voice going lower when they are particularly hurt. It could be knowing that certain practices, like cuddling before bed, are non-negotiable for their happiness. Other times, it may simply be learning about their hopes and fears for the relationship.
A Word From Verywell
Fighting might seem like the very last thing you want to do with the person you love, but choosing to iron out disagreements with your partner warmly could be the very thing that strengthens your relationship in the long run.
Maintaining an environment that allows for open communication, freedom from abuse, and otherwise healthy discourse can permit fighting without any fears for lasting damage to the relationship.
A version of this article originally appeared on verywellmind.com