Relationships aren’t always easy. Arguments and disagreements are expected when two people with different life experiences, views and perspectives come together. But how often are we told that arguing with our partner means the relationship is doomed? That disagreeing often is a sign that you just aren’t compatible? Well, if you find you bicker a lot with your loved one there may be a saving grace – science says it is, in fact, a great indicator for your relationship and here’s how.
Love Isn’t An Easy Street
As much as love is portrayed as romantic and against-all-odds fantastic, the reality is that relationships and marriage takes work to cultivate and bloom. There’s so much psychological research based on why marriages fail but not nearly as much asking what actually makes marriages succeed.
It’s this perspective that has led us to believe that arguing is a negative sign of failure and incompatibility with someone we love. While extreme hurtful arguing is detrimental to each other, research suggests that a healthy relationship is one that includes disagreements on a regular basis.
How Arguing Helps Your Relationship To Last
We all know communication is the key to any successful relationship.
While most of us think of this as calmly sitting on the sofa and bringing up worries or concerns to our partner, in real life this is rarely the case.
After all, we’re all human and we all have our bad days, our bad reactions to words and situations and so arguments are bound to happen. In essence, couples who argue are communicating and this is the lynchpin to any successful relationship. Granted it may not seem like the most ideal way to communicate, but actually getting our opinions and viewpoints out is much better than keeping them to ourselves and letting them stew.
Jonah Lehrer, author of A Book About Love, looked closely into how fighting in a relationship is actually a good thing rather than a negative.
“According to the scientists, spouses who complain to each other the most, and complain about the least important things, end up having more lasting relationships. In contrast, couples with high negativity thresholds—they only complain about serious problems—are much more likely to get divorced.”
So arguing about the little things keeps your relationship ticking over much better than saving it for what would be deemed the serious and more important stuff.
How Not Fighting Indicates An Unhealthy Relationship
Okay, arguing from day one may be an unhealthy sign but once we settle into a relationship it’s at this time when the real dynamics start to show.
Lehrer delves deeper into research done by John Gottman, who set up the Gottman Institute dedicating reseach-based methods to strengthen relationships. Gottman’s studies have revealed that, at a certain stage of a relationship where you’re revealing your true-selves to each other, if you’re not arguing then it could be a sign that you’ve lost emotional investment in the other person.
“Gottman’s research shows that 3 years into the relationship, if you’re not fighting, that’s the indicator of an unhealthy relationship. At that point, you’re not holding in your farts anymore. You’re fully intimate. You’ve seen where they’ve got hair, you’ve smelled their morning breath. You’re not holding anything back. So if you’re not fighting, it’s often a sign of withdrawal. In a sense, you can look at complaining and fighting in an intimate relationship as just ways of showing you care.”
Of course, no one should be unhappy in a relationship but emotionally intelligent arguing or even general bickering is a sign that you’re invested and willing to communicate, therefore keeping your relationship ticking over.
So, for those of you that believe arguing is a sign of impending doom for your relationship then think again. In fact, it’s a sign that you’re not only passionate about the other person and the relationship, but most importantly communication is abundant showing you a positive sign that your partnership is probably much stronger than you think.