Why do couples argue? Sure, there are the issues about money, sex, parenting and other commonly discussed topics. It’s not about stopping arguments as research has actually shown that couples who argue effectively are in better shape than those who avoid conflict all together. But we certainly can look at some of the foundational elements of security and ways that you can improve your relationships to argue more productively. Remember, there’s a difference between productive arguments (where it is worked through without one or both feeling resentful) and unproductive arguments (where one or both feel hurt, angry and/or unresolved).
There are a few things you and your partner can work on to strengthen the foundation of your relationship which will also allow you to weather the storms of life, whether in your dynamic or external forces that can hammer at it. Imagine a ship caught in a storm and the need for it to seek a safe harbor. Try to consider your marriage in this way. You both want to feel like the other can be a shelter in the storm of life.
3 Tips to Decrease Your Arguments
- Challenge Your Assumptions: Much of what couples get into tiffs about revolve around miscommunications. One person feels hurt or angry by what they BELIEVE the other meant by something. So often it’s not accurate. Check in with your partner about what you assumed they meant. Give them a chance to clarify what they meant. If more couples made a habit of this, there would be far more relationship harmony.
- Improve the Emotional Safety in Your Relationship: Many couples have no idea what they are ultimately fighting about because they don’t feel secure with each other. Not experiencing your partner as a safe haven leads to distress that can show up in a lot of ways. Emotional safety is about feeling prioritized, respected, validated, loved…couples who have this basic foundation in place benefit with the sense of knowing that they are on solid ground together. Get educated on the elements of a safe and secure relationship. Make it a priority to know what each others emotional wounds are and be sensitive to them.
- Take Responsibility Where it is Yours: It’s easy to point the finger. The real skill is being able to hold up a mirror to your own behavior and not only own it but offer a relationship repair if damage has been done. The solution is to make a habit of asking yourself where your role is. Mindful reflection on this matter can reduce blame and provide a more balanced perspective on a matter that may very well involve both partners. The next step is to make an attempt at a repair with your partner.