Why it’s okay to argue
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
7 Ways Arguing Can Be Surprisingly Good For Your Relationship
While you may not like to argue with your significant other, it probably happens sometimes. You may know couples who argue often and those who don’t. But there are several reasons why arguing may be good for your relationship.
In a study by Maxfield and Grenny, they found that four out of five people said poor communication played a role in their failed relationship, and half of respondents cited poor communication as a significant cause of the failed relationship. Those who blamed their partner for poor communication were more likely to be dissatisfied with the relationship. It also seemed many people did not take the blame when a conversation went poorly: fewer than one in five believed they were usually to blame. So you may be wondering how and why arguing can benefit your relationship?
Arguing Allows You To Communicate Your Needs To Your Partner
Arguing is healthy because you get to communication your frustrations and needs to your partner. Arguing does not have to be malicious or cruel — you can have loving and compassionate conflict. Anger is a natural emotion. It alerts us, letting us know that something doesn't feel good for us, and that is good to let your partner know.
Arguing Prevents You From Acting Out Your Frustrations
Even if you don’t feel like talking to your partner about something that’s upsetting you, it’ll be worth it. If you don’t talk it out, you might act it out. When people don’t express their concerns, those concerns come out in other ways — they become more abrupt, dismissive, and rude. The solution is to talk it out in an honest, frank, and respectful way. Dialogue is the solution. Silence causes the problem to continue.
Arguing Helps You Learn About Your Partner’s Motives
When you and your significant argue, it may be about something that’s bothering them and you didn’t even know it. Arguing, as long as it’s done without contempt, criticism, and defensiveness, can actually strengthen a romantic relationship. By remaining impartial and resolving conflicts of interest (which every relationship has), we learn about our partner’s motives. Resolved conflicts of interest in this way gives you both a greater base of knowledge about each other, making future conflicts less frequent and less damaging to the relationship.
Arguing Helps You Figure Out What The *Real* Issue Is
You know how sometimes you and your partner may be arguing, but you’re not actually arguing about the issue at hand? However, the more you talk, the more you get to what’s really going on? To discover what the fight is really about, you need to talk. Once you understand each other’s reasons, you'll have an easier time coming up with a solution.
Arguing Helps You And Your Partner Grow
In the short-term, while it may be easier to not argue and just ignore whatever issue is happening, arguing actually helps you and your partner evolve — individually and within your relationship. A good thing about arguing is that you get to grow from it, whether that’s by learning your triggers or your partner's triggers, uncovering an underlying hurt, or learning how you can be hurtful. Growth comes when you take the information from the argument and constructively apply it to repairing the relationship. For example, say, ‘I didn’t know when I shut down and don’t talk, that makes you feel ignored and dismissed. That wasn’t my intention. From now on, I can tell you when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need to take some space — so I don’t shut down and you don’t feel ignored.’ Good arguments don't include name-calling, put-downs, manipulation, or abuse. If you both agree to stop that behavior, there can even be the potential for growth from the hardest arguments.
Arguing Can Save Your Relationship Instead Of Destroying It
When you get upset with your partner, your go-to may be silence, and then your partner will know something is going on since you’re not your usual self. This is not the route to take. Silence is not golden. When people avoid the conversation, and fail to voice their concerns, their concerns go underground. They become "undiscussables" or elephants in the room. They escalate and can destroy the relationship.
Arguing May Help Prevent Divorce
You may know of a couple that complains about each other non-stop. Maybe they argue a lot, too, but not in a healthy way. Or, maybe they have stopped trying to discuss the root of their problems, which only magnifies them. Here is what failure looks like: Disagreements are avoided until passions grow to a peak. Then, the person speaks up, but in a way that is disrespectful. This disrespect is repeated, becoming a pattern, and grows into dislike. And dislike is the best predictor of divorce. In short: Disagreements create disrespect, which grows into dislike, which leads to divorce.
As you can see, there are many benefits to arguing, as long as you and your partner do so in a loving, constructive manner. After all, the point is to resolve the conflict at hand and move on and back into the non-arguing part of your relationship If you feel you and your partner cannot resolve your issues or conflicts on your own, it's important to reach out to a mental health professional who can assist you.