Unpopular truth – It is normal, even healthy, to have fights in order to build a happy, functional, nourishing, and loving relationship.
That doesn’t sound right to you? Well, it is true.
To eliminate any conflict is a form of avoidance and potentially can be just as damaging and toxic to your relationship as continuous, unhealthy fighting. The key to healthy fights is to handle arguments and disagreements with clear, honest, and open communication, respect, and understanding.
So easily said. So hard to do when in a moment of anger, frustration, sadness, or all of the above. As with most things in life, when something is good for you, it usually takes work, practice, and patience.
A healthy fighting behavior is not what comes naturally to most of us. I know I have been in many scenarios where I “lost my cool” (to put it lightly), and I also know it did not help the situation… not in the slightest.
However, I have also experienced disputes that were handled in a manner that allowed me to express whatever it was that bothered me in a safe space, where I was heard rather than attacked. Those are healthy fights that can be (and most likely are) beneficial for the quality of the relationship.
When fought correctly, it will deepen and strengthen your connection with your partner. Here is why –
Fighting means you care.
Speaking from my personal perspective: I won’t fight with you if I don’t care about you or us. It is not worth my time or energy. Being willing to go through uncomfortable situations and having taxing disagreements means you are invested in the success of a relationship. You are willing to work on it rather than just roll with it.
You will get to know your partner better.
May it be their communication style when triggered, past experiences they are healing from, red flag behavior, or how they feel seen and/or heard … The list of what can transpire during a fight is expansive, and if never put to the test, you might only find out once it is too late.
Fighting strengthens your relationship.
In an environment that caters to honest but respectful communication, free of cruelty, with everyone involved actively participating in resolving the disagreement, a fight will take your understanding
of each other to a more profound level. And that will strengthen the bond you are building.
Now that we know how beneficial healthy fights can be, the obvious next question is –
“How does one fight healthily?”
To get in a mode of responding rather than reacting, start with taking a moment and a deep breath (maybe two or three, depending on how flared up your temper feels).
Once you are back in your body rather than in the heat of the moment and are able to think more clearly, these are the practices to embrace to help make the best out of an unpleasant situation –
Be conscious of your language.
The words you choose
to communicate in a spat can either worsen the whole scenario and even take it to the point of no return, or they can help to create that environment that will strengthen your relationship.
Look at it from different perspectives.
Usually, there are three perspectives when two people fight –
Your partner’s perspective.
The perspective an outsider would have if involved in the disagreement.
By looking at things from all different views, you allow yourself the opportunity to grow and learn, and you consider the emotional needs of a person you love over winning an argument. And that, my dear, is not only healthy and mature but also attractive AF.
And I cannot stress this enough: LISTEN!!!
Listen not to use what has been said against your partner or to reply but to understand. Even if you disagree (because, let us be honest, sometimes you won’t find an agreement), understanding where the other person is coming from will help find a middle ground.
Speak when it is your turn and give turns to speak.
Try not to interrupt your partner when they articulate what is distressing to them, except when you ask for clarification for better understanding. When it is their turn to speak, it is your turn to listen. And vice versa.
Request rather than complaint.
“Why do we never go on dates anymore? No wonder we are disconnected from each other!”
“I feel we are disconnected from each other and think going on a date to spend some quality time would be helpful.”
Can you feel the difference? Speaking directly rather than down at your partner will help avoid fuelling the fire and help maintain a respectful interaction within the challenges you are facing.
In conclusion, let me just say –
Fighting might seem like the absolute last thing you want to do with the person you love, but choosing to iron out disagreements with your partner warmly could be the very thing that strengthens your relationship in the long run.
Maintaining an environment that allows for open communication, freedom from abuse, and otherwise healthy discourse can not only permit fighting without any fears of lasting damage to the relationship but also save it from it.