A Good Argument

Posted on November 5th, 2012

My aunt used to say that arguing was one of the great pleasures of life. Arguing a pleasure? Sometimes it is! Productive arguing is also a skill and an art, something that can be learned. All relationships have conflicts, and arguing can be a useful way to move through a conflict to a mutually satisfying resolution.

This is not to say that everyone likes arguing. Arguing in relationships is like pepper in food. Some people don’t like any at all, some prefer a moderate amount, and others habitually use so much that this is all they notice. It’s all according to tastes.

But what if the flavor of what you are getting doesn’t taste right to you?

Some couples never argue, deflecting all disagreements. This can make for an outwardly calm relationship, but not one with much passion or connection. Learning how to add healthy arguing—in a way which will work for you—can bring more spice to this kind of relationship.

On the other hand, when a couple argues all the time, even about things they can’t recall later, chances are arguing is being used to cover up other difficulties or dissatisfactions. Since this kind of arguing doesn’t usually resolve the real issues, it can be hot and hurting, but it isn’t usually productive. The work needed here is to look more deeply at underlying conflicts and how to resolve them.

There is also such a thing as a healthy middle ground argument, an argument which can get lively but not overheated, making no wounds in you or partner, resolving differences, and leaving you both feeling invigorated, happier, and more connected.

If we were talking about food, you’d adjust the seasonings, try another recipe, or go to cooking school. Since we’re talking about relationships, the place to learn more is in couples counseling, where the skill of productive, engaging arguing can be developed.

Rather than keeping you separate, healthy arguing can relieve distress, add spice to your lives, and bring you closer together.




Posted in Marriage and Couples

Please remember, this is a blog. It is not psychotherapy or treatment of any kind and is not a substitute for the individual treatment you can get from going to see a good therapist.