Study Says Couples Who Argue With Each Other Stay Together Longer
We see arguing and fighting as synonymous with each other and, at times, they are. However, relationships are a different matter. And, according to experts, the difference between these two words can make your relationship with your spouse or partner last longer, stronger.
“Many hidden reasons can fuel bitter fights. If we are to stop the fighting, we need to understand what each side is protecting or getting out of the fights. Maybe then we can help each of them feel better and then find happier ways to manage their differences.” – Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
No, you won’t find this sentiment in lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day cards, but according to experts, arguments between spouses or partners make for healthier, stronger and longer-lasting relationships.
A study conducted years back stated that 44% of married couples believe that arguing with their significant others more than once a week actually kept communication lines open and ironed out petty issues before they turn into full-blown ones.
Arguing, Not Fighting
“It’s important to note that the right word to use here is arguing and not fighting,” clarified one psychologist and marriage counselor. “When we fight, we tend to go all out with the hurtful words and the screaming and such. Arguing, on the other hand, can be done without fighting. There’s the reason involved. You put the issue out in the open and dispute over your views about it until such time you reach a compromise.”
And as a note to the study conducted and to other similar undertakings, one marriage therapist commented, “I believe the study isn’t about it is okay that couples get angry and argue. It’s more on how the two parties in a union handle their anger. There’s a good way to handle the emotion and a bad way to express it. And these ways can make or break the marriage.”
“Talk to your partner about your concerns. Then seek help if your own personal attempts to help improve the relationship don’t work out. I believe a great number of relationships have the possibility of being saved, if both partners are committed to working on changing it — and then take action.” – John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
These Two Professionals Went On To Dole Out Practical Pieces Of Advice About FIGHTING FAIR With Your Spouse:
Respect – put that character first and foremost at all times, especially during arguments. When you fight, always remember that you vowed before God and man during your wedding to love and respect each other. That shouldn’t fly out of the door the moment you’re engaged in an argument. Respect means no yelling, no screaming, and no spewing of demeaning or hurtful words. Remember, the one you’re fighting with is the one you’re sleeping with at night.
Avoid exaggerations. Steer clear of saying sentences that start with “You never…” or “You always…” Exaggerations signify that your significant other is selfish and only sees her or his welfare which is unfair and hurtful.
Don’t bring in third parties when you argue. Avoid comparing your husband or wife to someone else. And saying something like, “My mother agrees with me on this” doesn’t help, either. When you fight things out, keep it between the two of you.
No “kitchen sinking.”Kitchen sinking is the term used by psychologists on digging up past issues and including them into the present argument. Those past fights are best left in the past where they belong. Focus on the NOW problem!
Apologize. Forgiveness is the most crucial part of arguing. Don’t wait out for the other party to apologize before you make up no matter if they’re the one who’s at wrong or not. Apologizing shows that your relationship is more valuable than the grudge that’s keeping you from seeing eye-to-eye.
Upon learning about the survey, Bill, 68 and a Massachusetts native, said with a twinkle in his eye to his wife: “Hon, we’re doing something right after all!”
Then, turning to us, he cheerfully said, “We always bicker. There was one time we decided to stop doing it, but then, we missed it, so we got right back to bickering.”
Melinda, 65 and this man’s “hon,” chided: “He missed it, not me.”
“We find many younger couples now who are afraid of confrontations when it shouldn’t be feared. It kept us talking to each other for years. Besides, arguments add spark to relationships. Nothing goes on for long without the spark,” the couple, married for 46 years now, mused.
“Therapy can help you discover new coping strategies to manage current and future problems. Coping strategies are the intentional efforts you make to manage and minimize stress.” – Megan Vossler, LCSW.