Arguing is an important part of healthy relationships. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? While it is true that many hurtful words and bad memories stem from horrible fights, arguing is still necessary. Healthy conflicts and its resolution is a major component in successful relationships. If couples learn how to argue effectively, they can get to know each other better, and their relationships can last longer. Couples need to communicate face to face, not bump heads.
What is a Fight?
Fights normally take place when two people disagree on something, or one or both people are hurt and/or angry. An unhealthy fight usually includes one or more of the following:
- cursing or swearing
- physical violence
- name calling
- blaming each other
- yelling or screaming
- insulting each other
Having a fight means that each person is trying to win. Each person feels strongly that they are right, and they want the other person to listen. The problem is that neither person is truly listening to the other person’s side with a clear head, because there is a great deal of anger and tension in the room. The dispute began over a much deeper issue, than the situation that triggered the pain and fury.
The fight typically ends when one or both people are exhausted from the stress, or become so hurt, or so angry, that they have to walk away. Although many recover from fights and apologize, fights over the same deeper issue emerge in the future because the root issue was never resolved.
What is an Argument?
An argument normally takes place when two people disagree on something, or one or both people are hurt and/or angry. A healthy argument usually includes one or more of the following:
- clear statement of feelings and/or beliefs about a situation
- talking calmly
- listening respectfully
- looking at things from the other person’s point of view
- willingness to accept, if proved wrong
- remember that you care about the other person
Having an argument means that each person is trying to resolve the root issue. Each person feels strongly about the other person’s point of view, and wants to hear what the other person has to say. Both people have relaxed their emotions as much as possible so they can hear the other person, and not just their own thoughts.
The surface issue is put to rest as a much deeper issue arises from the conversation. The argument should result in a better understanding of why the other person felt the way they did, and vice versa. Steps are planned to avoid a similar conflict in the future, behavior patterns are changed, and compromise is often made. The relationship is happier as a result, and therefore longer lasting.
How to Argue Effectively
It is no easy task to think about healthy communication and a happy relationship, when you are furious with your partner. Try to settle down before addressing the issue that upset you.
Detach yourself mentally from your opinion, and open yourself up to the view of the other person completely. You have to keep an open mind, and be willing to accept the other person’s view as completely right, at least for a moment. You have to truly put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and be willing to step into the mindset that they have, so that you can truly understand what they are trying to say, and where they are coming from.
Don’t use words like ‘you always…’ or ‘you never…’ Take responsibility for the way things are. If it is the fault of the other person, phrase things like ‘it seems like you…’ or ‘maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like you…’, that will give the other person a chance to explain things without feeling wrongly accused.
Fights or arguments are almost never about what the people involved are focused on. The best thing to do is find out, why you or your partner feel the way you both do. Maybe one person doesn’t feel appreciated. Perhaps it’s just a misinterpretation of feelings due to an action or lack of action.
For example, “you forgot my birthday and therefore don’t care about me.” It could be an error of the mind and not the heart. No one is perfect, and sometimes people that truly love you, don’t do every little thing that you want them to. The important thing is that you honestly communicate your feelings to each other, and come to an understanding.
These methods work in any friendship, romantic relationship, or family relationship. Any normal relationship faces conflict once in a while. Just remember that you love and care for your close ones, and should be ready to do, what you can, to make things right.