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Is Arguing Healthy In A Relationship? (+ How Often Do Couples Fight?)

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Love is blind, right?

When you’re in the first heart-fluttering stages of a relationship, you’re pretty much incapable of seeing anything other than the vision of perfection which stands before you.

The idea that you might ever have an argument seems impossible since the apple of your eye matches you step for step in every thought, every action, and every thing.

If they claim that water flows uphill, you’re inclined to believe them over your own knowledge of scientific fact!

It’s a magical time and if you’re really lucky (or particularly determined to see only the positives), that stage may stretch for heart-melting weeks or months.

But then the sad yet inevitable moment dawns when your beloved says or does something which pushes your buttons and the first clearly stated difference of opinion rears its head…

It’s usually just small things at first, when both of you are still of a mind to compromise, but bit by bit, your relationship is put to the test.

The positive side of these arguments is that they’re rarely too serious and they’re part of the learning process.

They allow both parties to develop a more profound understanding of each other’s deepest motivations.

Each time you disagree, you’ll learn more about your partner, so don’t shy away from these exchanges of viewpoints as they’ll be very revealing…

…much more revealing in many ways than all those days and weeks you’ve spent treading on eggshells trying to preserve the magic of new (and, let’s face it, rather unrealistic) love for as long as possible with never a cross word between you.

Sure, there’ll have been times when you didn’t see eye to eye. It’s the extent that you’re willing to compromise in those early days that smoothes over any cracks.

You’ll have been all dewy-eyed with love (or, rather, infatuation) again in no time without actually airing your difference of opinion. The lip remains zipped for the sake of perfect harmony.

But when the inevitable arguments creep in, don’t run away from them.

Dipping your toes into the concept of disagreeing will allow you to explore beneath the perfect façade of your newly beloved.

This needs to happen or you’ll be stuck forever more in polite superficiality that’s neither healthy nor sustainable.

It’s important to understand that a healthy relationship doesn’t mean zero conflict.

What it actually means is that you’ll develop ever better communication skills so you can work through and resolve future conflict.

You’ll each learn to value the other as an individual with different perspectives, which is really fundamental to a sustainable, loving relationship.

And, of course, let’s not forget that arguments sometimes breed passion – the boost to all the senses in the wake of a frank exchange of views can lead to the most fantastic, healing intimacy.

There aren’t many couples who’d deny that make-up sex is often the best and most mutually satisfying and pleasurable.

With so many potential positive effects, it’s a little strange that many people go to extreme lengths to avoid an argument.

The reason could be the negative connotations of the word itself.

In reality, though, an argument can simply be an exchange of viewpoints that doesn’t necessarily have to result in bruised egos every time.

Each party should be entitled to air their views without being fearful of the consequences.

There’s really no need for raised voices and acrimony.

The Benefits Of Arguing In A Relationship

So, it seems that some frank exchanges of opinions can indeed be healthy in a relationship.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the reasons why couples who argue can actually be happier than those who shy away from any conflict.

1. It forges mutual respect.

It’s totally fine that your views differ.

Airing these contradictions means that you gain a better understanding of each other’s perspective. This broadens your mutual horizons.

Love will blossom if each of you is capable of listening to a different opinion without getting upset or angry or insisting on getting your own counter argument across.

Love is all about mutual respect and how you treat each other.

2. It makes your relationship stronger.

If your relationship struggles to survive arguments, the indicators are all pointing to a lack of real love.

Sorry, but it’s true.

You should be able to open up completely with your partner and say exactly what’s on your mind.

If you’re able to do that, your relationship will be more likely to stand the test of time and all the ups and downs along the way.

If, on the other hand, you keep a tight hold on your true thoughts for fear of upsetting your partner, then sooner or later the strain will lead to a breakdown of the partnership.

3. It creates comfort in the strength of your partnership.

The fact that you’re completely comfortable with your partner gives you the confidence of knowing that it’s okay to hold a polar opposite view.

It won’t automatically drive a wedge between you.

Neither of you has to pretend to be someone you’re not; you can both be true to yourselves.

This gives a feeling of great comfort and makes the relationship truly sustainable.

You’re both confident that voicing a difference of opinion is not going to spoil your partnership.

4. It gives freedom from fear.

The fact that you argue is an indicator of the level of trust between you and your partner.

Where there is fear, there can never be true love.

If you refrain from voicing your true opinion because you know it will cause an argument, and this is done with a sense of dread or fear of the outcome, there is something fundamentally wrong with the balance in your relationship.

You need to feel completely confident that an argument won’t lead to a fight.

Healthy arguments with no fear of the consequences actually make healthy relationships.

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5. It helps you learn more about each other.

Have you ever thought that each and every argument actually offers a deeper insight into the inner workings of your partner’s mind?

These revelations present a great opportunity for you to learn something new and maybe even change your own long-held opinion on a topic in the light of that discovery.

If that doesn’t happen – and it won’t happen that often! – then at the very least you’ve learned more about each other and you’ve each had the opportunity to explain or defend your point of view, which can be truly enlightening.

6. It means there is no need for secrecy.

The bottom line is that the more you argue, the less chance there is for information to be withheld and one or other party having secrets.

The deeper the argument goes, and the more probing the discussion, the better you will understand the complexities of your partner’s character.

A deep and thorough mutual understanding is essential if you’re going to negotiate life’s ups and downs together.  

7. It helps prevent boredom and complacency.

One thing’s for sure: a balanced relationship where both parties feel able to express their true feelings goes a long way to preventing the boredom of ‘same-old, same-old’ setting in.

It’s also the case that such a relationship allows fresh ideas – no matter how off the wall and ‘alternative’ – to be aired without fear of ridicule or rejection.

This is very healthy and anything but dull. Arguments breed passion and that’s never, ever boring!

So, Is Arguing Healthy…?

All in all, couples who don’t bury their disagreements, but face them and work through them, are likely to be stronger than couples who don’t.

Yet, it’s not actually the arguing that increases the strength of their bond – although that’s clearly a part of it – it’s the making up afterwards.

There’s a dawning realization that your relationship is more important than your differences.

The resolution of a disagreement involves both acceptance of mistakes and also forgiveness.

Each time you fight, you gain some new insight into your partner, making ever stronger connections and a deeper mutual understanding.

What’s very important is that you’re not fighting but arguing.

There’s no combat involved in arguing – both parties get to air their points of view without voices being raised and without any name-calling and finger-pointing.

As my grandmother used to say, “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.”

This is the best counsel I’ve ever received when it comes to resolving differences of opinion, whether with my nearest and dearest or pretty much anyone.

The best advice I can offer by way of conclusion is that real relationships aren’t perfect and perfect relationships aren’t real.

Coexisting without having differences of opinion is impossible.

Many counselors agree that if a couple say they don’t argue, something is definitely not right in the relationship.

There’s a chance that one of them (or both) is just bottling everything up, and that will ultimately result in unhappiness.

And the answer to the original question, “Is arguing healthy in a relationship?”

Yes, although it’s not the most productive way of sharing problems, arguing in relationships most definitely can be healthy for all the reasons discussed above.

How Often Do Couples Fight?

As we’ve discussed, almost all couples argue, and those that don’t probably want to, but are suppressing the conflict out of some misguided belief that it isn’t healthy.

But the frequency of arguments can vary greatly. Some couples might argue once a week, others once a month, others still might only argue a few times a year.

The number of arguments is not, by itself, an issue if they are typically calm affairs that are followed by a resolution and reconciliation…

…but it can become a problem as we’ll now discuss.

How Much Is Too Much?

Let’s imagine that the arguments in your own relationship have become too frequent and too combative…

…and you find yourselves returning to the same ground over and over again without any apparent progress or resolution.

Neither of you are willing to hear the other’s point of view and you often lose your temper, saying damaging things you regret afterwards.

You seem stuck in a conflict loop – repeating the same negative behaviors over and over.

Does all this indicate that your relationship isn’t going to stand the test of time?

Well, fights can be a bit like stormy weather….

Over a period of time, their repetitive and increasingly violent nature can wear away all the positive benefits, exposing the soft, vulnerable bedrock below.

When the volume ramps up, the angry or aggressive body language starts, and the plates start to fly, a line has been crossed and any healthy benefits are long gone.

To quote the wise words of the ancient poet, Rumi:

Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.

No flowers are going to grow in a toxic environment. Neither can love.

For a relationship to be healthy there must be mutual respect as well as care and concern for one another.

Any form of abuse, be it physical, emotional, or verbal, represents an absence of those key ingredients.

If a relationship isn’t healthy, it’s unlikely to be sustainable.

In this case, perhaps it’s time to consider whether this relationship is worth fighting for if you’ll excuse the pun…

…or whether it’s time to make a swift exit and move on to pastures new.

About The Author

Working as a freelance copywriter, Juliana is following a path well-trodden by her family, who seem to have 'wordsmithing' in their DNA. She'll turn her quill to anything from lifestyle and wellness articles to blog posts and SEO articles. All this is underpinned by a lifetime of travel, cultural exchange and her love of the richly expressive medium of the English language.