Psychologists agree that though relationship arguments between couples usually start off small, they can quickly escalate and reveal deeper emotional problems. Still, arguments can be healthy for relationships if executed the right way.
There’s a difference between an argument and a fight. Both revolve around a conflict, but how a couple chooses to address this conflict is what differentiates the two. An argument is when a couple disagrees on an issue. An relationship argument can end with the couple peacefully agreeing to disagree or find a compromise. A fight occurs when one or both parties are determined to “win” even if it means hurting the other person or damaging their relationship.
So are conflicts truly healthy for relationships? Psychologists believe that they are. Conflict is said to benefit relationships because couples learn more about each other and come to respect their differences. Dr. Neil Clark Warren, clinical psychologist and founder of eHarmony, says that properly addressing conflicts can strengthen relationships and prepare couples for marriage.
Here are some Mindful tips for a healthy way to deal with relationship arguments:
- Resist the urge to win. Even if you believe that your point is right and theirs is wrong, resist the urge to bully the other person with your opinion. Conflict in a relationship is not about an individual winning.
- Listen and be respectful. Show that you care for the other person by being respectful of their opinion. Listen carefully to what the other person has to say without being defensive.
- Think before you speak. We’ve all said something that we wish we hadn’t. Before you say anything question whether or not your words will hurt the other person.
- Avoid anger. Stay calm and avoid raising your voice. If you feel that the conflict is starting to get heated agree on a break or a few moments of silence.
- Compromise. One person should not have to just give in. If a conclusion cannot be made then both parties should give a little in order to compromise.