Are We Fighting in a Healthy Way? 5 Tips for More Productive Arguments

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Are We Fighting in a Healthy Way? 5 Tips for More Productive Arguments

Adapted from Monica and Michael Berg’s Spiritually Hungry podcast. Listen and subscribe here.
September 19, 2022
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It’s a common misconception that successful relationships are free of conflict or that marrying one’s soulmate leads to a fun, happy marriage with no hardships at all. The truth is that conflict is not only inevitable but also a necessary part of all relationships. Relationships can evolve through conflict, enabling us to build closer and stronger bonds, but it’s up to us to use disagreements as a springboard to create a deeper connection.

Here are 5 tips for more productive arguments:

1. Don’t be afraid of disagreements – they are often a sign of a healthy relationship.

Having an argument with your partner means that both of you are growing and changing and that you care deeply about every aspect of the relationship. If there is something important you disagree about or if someone is hurt by something, it’s important to talk about it. Avoiding conflict can mean suppressing your feelings, which only builds resentment. Relationships can fall apart when there are no disagreements because both partners have checked out completely or just don’t care enough to engage in a meaningful conversation.

An argument doesn’t need to mean yelling and screaming. Arguing can be a passionate conversation about things you disagree about. Establish ground rules with your partner and develop a healthy fighting style that works for both of you.

2. Approach conflict as an opportunity for your relationship to become even stronger.

One of the spiritual reasons for conflict in a relationship is that it creates an opening to deepen the bonds of the relationship. If you decide you don’t want to deal with the conflict, just get through it and move on to the next thing, you will have lost a powerful opportunity to become stronger and closer together.

Be conscious of the joyful opportunity in the challenge. Even if it’s not comfortable, grab the opportunity to become closer to your partner. You don’t always get opportunity after opportunity in life. If you don’t grab this one, the next might not come, or you might not be ready for it. The challenges are what deepen the love, the bond. That’s what takes your relationship to the next level.

3. Be open and vulnerable with your partner. It will bring you closer.

It’s tempting to try and only show your best sides to your partner, especially in a new relationship. But if you are choosing someone as a life partner, it’s important to bring yourself fully to the relationship. Know that it’s okay to be yourself, flaws and all. Building a lasting relationship necessitates both partners reveal the parts of themselves they most want to hide.

Vulnerability is not weakness. When you are raw with your partner and open up about your emotions, it actually brings you closer. This usually does not feel comfortable at first, but vulnerability is one of the most powerful ways to deepen a relationship.

4. Try to find your partner’s real intent behind their words.

We often expect our partners to read our minds, believing we don’t need to explain our feelings because they should just know us well enough. A lot of times, we have an expectation, want, hurt, or unmet need, and instead of being vulnerable and saying it, we pick a fight or find a roundabout way of getting it.

When a conflict arises, try to hear your partner’s want behind the words. No matter how long you’ve been together, know there is so much to learn about your partner, yourself, and relationships. Be open to knowing that there are things you are blind to, places you need to change and grow towards. Don’t assume you know everything about them or vice versa. Take time to investigate like a detective. Ask questions and search for their real desire.

5. After the argument, take time to repair.

Fighting isn’t about winning; it’s about learning more about each other and how to best work together as a couple. Take time to heal after an argument. One of the most important indications that your relationship is built on a foundation that can handle necessary conflict is how quickly you recover. Otherwise, the hurt remains like an open wound.

Think about your last significant argument. Did you take the time to repair after? Do you feel closer to your partner because of the conflict?

All healthy, thriving relationships involve conflict. It’s an indication that we are pushing ourselves and each other to reach our next level of potential. We each have a responsibility to build a relationship that is nurturing, growing, and evolving. This requires us to be open about our feelings, have honest discussions, take the time to understand our partners, and make meaningful change after an argument. Used properly, conflict and argument can be powerful tools to deepen a relationship.

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