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Couples Who Argue Have Better Relationships, According To Science

Couples Who Argue Have Better Relationships, According To Science

Guess what? You’re off the hook. You don’t need to sit around wonder if all the arguing means that your relationship is doomed. Science says that, that isn’t the case.

Recently, a survey was done in India among married couples to figure out how much arguing affected their relationship. And it turns out that 44% of responders attribute part of their marital success to how much they argue. They said that fighting more than once a week helps keep the lines of communication open.

And that isn’t all, another study done over 14 years found that couples who argued often and in a peaceful manner were more likely not be separated. This study followed 79 married couples across the US Midwest. According to FamilyShare, the common thread between the strongest couples is that they argued, and immediately talked openly and honestly about the argument.

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Arguing for A Healthy Relationship

First, there is a difference between fighting and arguing. Arguing is a healthy way to get emotions out on the table. In fact, the quickest relationship killer is allowing your emotions to stew. Next thing you know, you’re a bomb waiting to explode. It isn’t a matter of if at this point, it’s a matter of when your emotions will get the better of you and you’ll have a relationship altering fight.

Without question, letting your emotions stew will lead to resentment.

And, frankly, arguments are just part of a relationship that isn’t boring. In fact, in this article at the Star Tribune, Sandy Burris, who’s been married almost 60 years, says, “We do [argue all the time]. There are a lot of things we don’t agree on. If we did agree all the time, it would be boring.”

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If you’ve been married happily for that long, you must be doing something right. I’m sure you can remember a relationship that just went stale when you’ve been thinking just tell me I did something wrong for once!

As for kids, many family counselors site peaceful arguing as part of a positive model, as William Doherty, a professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Family Social Science stated. “If they never see you argue, they’re going to get a very unrealistic image of marriage,” he said, “If it’s hostile, contemptuous, full of shouting and name-calling, that’s bad. But if it’s a small irritation that is addressed respectfully and the kids see that 15 minutes later you’ve gotten over it and everything is fine again, that’s helpful.”

The point is, you can’t play the blame game and expect your kids to grow positively, but you can teach them by example that it’s okay to disagree. It’s easy to show them that you can argue, come to a compromise, and still love each other fully. It seems that arguing is healthy for everyone involved, not just the couple. Arguing isn’t just a magic pill. There are obvious reasons why arguing makes couples stay together longer.

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1. There’s No Resentment Between Partners

If you’re constantly holding it it, there will be resentment. The healthiest way to deal with negative feelings is to get them out in the open!

2. Couples Who Argue See Themselves as Equals

In a relationship is so important for partners to be on a level playing field. No one wins if someone is dominant over the other. And that’s what happens when couples don’t argue. Let’s face it, all people feel the need to stand their ground. In a relationship, if you don’t stand your ground and argue, you’re showing your partner that their opinion is more important, and they can have whatever they want. That’s the road to an unhealthy relationship.

3. Couples Who Challenge Each Other, Grow Together

It’s no secret that the quickest way to grow as a person is to overcome challenges. It’s also no secret that good relationships require both partners to push the other to be the best version of themselves. When arguing with a partner, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose. You will learn a lot about each other, and more importantly yourself. You’ll learn how to lose better, you will learn how to win with sportsmanship, and you’ll learn how to compromise more. These are all valuable traits in all parts of life.

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If you want a healthy relationship, you shouldn’t avoid arguments. However, you shouldn’t go pick a fight with your spouse as soon as you’re done reading this. The bigger point here is that all people argue, and the way you argue is really important.

It’s important that arguments aren’t fights or all out wars. They need to be peaceful. And you should practice listening with the intent of understanding your partner, not so you can find our opportunity to speak. Next time you get in an argument with your partner, remember that you’re strengthening your bond if you’re doing it right.

Featured photo credit: Daily Record via dailyrecord.co.uk

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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