The happiest relationships are not perfect. Learning why fighting in a relationship is important can help you talk things out and let things go.
You might think fighting is the worst thing you can do as a couple. It is not fun. It never is. In fact, it can be stressful and draining. Learning why fighting in a relationship is important feels counterintuitive, but no good relationship survives without disagreements.
You might avoid getting into fights at all costs, especially the big ones. It is scary to put something risky out there and not know what the outcome will be.
But in reality, that’s exactly what is essential to a successful and happy relationship.
No matter how similar or different a couple may be from one another, they’ll never agree on everything. How they deal with those disagreements and any issues that arise is what determines the future of their relationship. [Read: What does a healthy relationship actually look like?]
Why we avoid fighting in a relationship
Most of us were raised to avoid confrontation. We don’t like things that are messy. We don’t want to start a screaming match. Whether you had a bad fight before and it deterred you from bringing up a sensitive topic again or you just avoid disagreements all together, it makes sense.
Avoiding fighting in a relationship is a form of self-preservation. We don’t want to hurt our partners or get hurt by them. Disagreement could potentially lead to a breakup.
We tell ourselves we can overlook the things that may be bothering us because it isn’t that bad. We are happy enough. If we bring up something small, it can seem like nitpicking. We often hold onto our issues in relationships because if we let them out they become more real.
We also want our relationship to seem perfect and fighting isn’t perfect. Fighting is messy and loud and frustrating. We think fighting in a relationship means something is wrong.[Read: 25 things couples in happy relationships always talk about]
If we disagree about something, we believe it is a crack in our relationship that will only lead to more problems. If we poke at something in the relationship, it will make it worse rather than fixing it. Or at least that is how we assume it will be.
This isn’t the case though. Fighting is vital for the health of any relationship. Discuss things, especially the hard stuff, to work through it and become stronger as a couple rather than avoid potential fights.
Why fighting in a relationship is important
As scary as a fight with your partner might be, avoidance is much worse for your relationship. Not only does avoiding a fight or a topic that might start a fight build tension, it also grows resentment. It only pushes you further apart.
You may think avoiding conflict at any cost is a safe bet. Avoidance only causes an even larger strain than calmly bringing up an issue in the first place.
Most likely, a fight will lead to the root issue being resolved. It can’t happen if it’s never discussed. Avoiding a fight only puts off the inevitable until it implodes and causes more problems than it avoids. [Read: 9 relationship stages all couples have to go through]
Holding onto something that bothers you will build up resentment within you leading to unavoidable and worse fights.
When a fight is put off for too long or brought up without the right frame of mind, resentment and anger build unintentionally. It can cause you and your partner to lash out, making the argument much worse than it needs to be.
The reason fights are so scary is because they’re not done in a way to make both partners satisfied with the outcome. They’re usually selfish in nature. They focus on hostility rather than an equal understanding. [Read: 8 ways to avoid the awkward tension after an argument]
How to fight in a relationship
Knowing how to fight in a relationship can be what takes a relationship from good to great.
You’ve mastered the art of fighting when it doesn’t seem like a fight at all. When your fights stop feeling like they’re risking your relationship but brings you closer together, you’ll feel the difference.
So, rather than a screaming match full of curse words and eye rolling, disagreements should be handled with an honest conversation that has open communication and lots of listening. [Read: Relationship arguments and 23 dos and don’ts you shouldn’t ignore]
Lay out your concerns so you can brainstorm solutions together, instead of each partner arguing their point. Keeping your attention on a successful end result rather than ego is vital to maintaining respect and equality between you and your partner.
Only by upholding that respect for your partner can a resolution be reached without the risk of cruel and possibly regretful words. [Read: Immature things couples fight about all the time]
Naturally, when bringing up sensitive topics, holding down passionate and potentially uncontrolled emotions isn’t a simple feat. If you start a fight in the wrong mindset you can easily become overwhelmed by impulsive emotions that obscure your thinking and cause the fight to go awry.
Therefore, if a fight is getting out of control and you fear you may say something you regret, take a step back. Once a disagreement turns into yelling, cursing, or attacking one another’s character, it is near impossible to take those words back.
Additionally, serious conversations or arguments via text or social media can be just as damaging. There’s a lack of awareness on both sides.
With that, it is not at all advised to stop a fight or bury it because it is not going smoothly. Simply hit pause and take a breath. Whether you take an hour to calm down, go for a walk, and get your thoughts together to return with a more thoughtful and open mind, or simply say, “I’m sorry we’re fighting just know that I love you.” Talking when calm is essential. [Read: 8 things you MUST tell yourself when you’re fighting with your lover]
Such sensitive conversations can only be had and successfully dealt with when both partners are willing to put their anger aside and come together in a safe and respectful environment.
Clearly, fighting is something that every couple must deal with at some point. It doesn’t have to be as excruciating as it seems on television or even in your past.
By removing the drama and ego from a disagreement, a conflict can actually remain calm and come to a resolution without one raised voice or broken plate. If next time a problem arises, it is brought up and discussed respectfully, soon the nerves and fear of a fight will cease.
You may come to realize that by mastering the art of fighting fair, each disagreement you and your partner have brings you closer together, strengthening your bond, and ensuring your confidence in dealing with anything together.
Knowing why fighting in a relationship is important lets you focus on the upside of arguments rather than their bad reputation. The next time you both have a disagreement, remember that a fair argument will bring you closer instead of driving you apart.