Ever encounter snobs that say, "My lover and I never argue?" They stick their nose up in the air as if this is an Olympic gold medal accomplishment (seriously, do they want a cookie?) but little do they know that they're actually killing their relationship.
Never argue? Is your 'lover' a robot? We bicker because we care, we fight because we have passion, we yearn to be right because we seek validation. So is the absence of disagreements and drama really all that admirable? Not always.
How NOT Arguing Can Kill Your Relationship
John M. Grohol, Psy.D, founder of PsychCentral, says if you're not going at it, your relationship might be in danger. "Arguing stops because you don't care if you were right or felt hurt by another person's words or actions," Grohol says. That's a red flag, he adds, because if major issues are being brushed off with "whatever!" or "ugh, who cares," it's possible you've lost your will to fight - not only with your partner, but for the relationship.
But when you yearn for your partner to understand you, when you crave to sway your partner towards your views, there is zeal, ardor, and passion. Without these emotions, your relationship might be in trouble.
Why Arguing With Your Lover is Healthy
- It's a sign of being comfortable enough to express your feelings. Conversely, suppressing your views shows uneasiness in having open discussions.
- Couples who argue live longer than their tight-lipped counterparts, according to a 17-year study published in the Journal of Family Communications.
- Lovebirds who butt heads also saw less cortisol fluctuations, as per a report commissioned by The National Study of Daily Experiences.
- It shows that your lover can still evoke fervor out of you, which signifies that you care about the relationship.
- It can incite high levels of arousal, which leads to a satisfying romp in the sack. "If [...] couples did not fight, they would rapidly lose sexual interest in one another," Dr. R. Joseph wrote in The Right Brain and the Unconscious.
- It helps to reestablish emotional balance in the relationship, according to Greg Godek, author of Love: The Course They Forgot to Teach You in School.
While your will to wrestle with your lover might be healthy, how you're bickering with your significant other can make or break your relationship.
How to Argue Effectively
Knocking down furniture or breaking dishes won't solve a darned thing but create an even bigger mess - literally. There are ways you can conduct yourself during a quibble to promote a productive outcome.
1. Discover what you're really arguing about.
Let's be honest. It's deeper than the stinky sock he left on the floor. The greater issue might be fairness in chores. Nip the core issue in the bud so it won't manifest itself in silly, inconsequential arguments.
2. Use a compromise statement before a tiff gets heated.
When Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony, argues with his wife, he says "Honey, how can I give on this and how can you give on this so that we will be together?" In this way, a resolution can be found.
3. Don't go off-topic.
Saying, "Oh yeah? Well, you want to talk about my dirty socks, let's talk about your shoes that cause a tsunami every time I open the blasted closet!" will only fuel the fire.
4. Argue early and often.
Okay, we know it sounds counterproductive, but arguing more often shows that you're not sweeping problems under the rug. Don't allow issues to fester! Rather than holding it in like a ticking time bomb, just express yourself as soon as possible.
5. Agree to disagree.
You think you're right, he thinks he's right - sometimes it's best to conclude you're not going to agree on a subject. And that's okay!
So jump back in the ring. Your desire to engage in a battle of the wits won't weaken the relationship. Au contraire! It shows investment and interest. Just be sure to argue the right way. Being too disengaged to face-off with your lover, on the other hand, is likely to kill relationship.