Every couple argues. It’s only natural for disagreements to arise, even in the happiest and healthiest relationships. But how much is too much fighting in a relationship?
First things first: There’s no “average amount of times” couples should argue. What matters is how you argue.
Do you listen and feel heard? Do you use respectful language? Or do things turn personal and nasty? Do you interrupt your partner and dismiss their point of view?
Disagreements can make your relationship stronger, or they can damage your relationship and leave you feeling resentful. It’s all about how you work through disagreements – not how often they come up.
We explore what makes an argument healthy or hurtful here.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Fights
Conflict isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, constructive arguments can benefit your relationship. They can increase your understanding of your partner and their needs, bringing you closer and strengthening the trust in your relationship. But unhealthy fights can do the opposite.
Here’s the difference:
- Focusing on the issue at hand
- Allowing each other to speak your piece
- Using calm and respectful tone and language
- Taking responsibility and saying sorry
- Taking a time-out to calm down if emotions are high
- Making requests instead of complaints
- Asking for clarification if you don’t understand what they mean
- Working together to find a solution
- Picking a fight for the sake of it
- Interrupting each other or not listening
- Bringing up past issues irrelevant to the topic at hand
- Disrespectful language such as swearing or name-calling
- Raised voices or yelling
- Purposely hurting each other
- Blame and finger-pointing
- Making threats to leave or hurt each other
- Violence or abuse
Where to Get Help
There are a lot of ways to argue, and many couples fall into a familiar pattern or dynamic when they fight. This can be hard to break out of, but it is possible to find healthier ways to approach conflict.
If you’re struggling with communication and/or conflict, relationship counselling could be a helpful option. Learn more or make an appointment by calling 1300 364 277.
Family and Relationship Counsellor Val Holden offers more advice on how to fight fair in this blog post.