Arguments in relationships are inevitable. We’re humans and we’re two different humans. We are a couple and at the same time we have our own thoughts, reason and also our own areas in life, such as work or some hobbies. Discussing certain issues, in fact, has a vital role in every relationship. Below you can find out why arguments are so important.
1. Resolving issues
The main and most important function of arguments is solving certain problems that arise. These issues might come from a number of sources. One of them is the differences of how things were done in your and your partner’s parents’ homes – and you believe your way is the only way. Another source is your expectations about your partner, which we often assume they know. Well, don’t expect your partner knows something unless you tell him/her. No matter the reason for a misunderstanding, it might seem easier just to bite your lip, say nothing and just pretend everything’s OK. However, it only makes your frustration grow and by the time you decide to discuss the problem, your emotions may make it impossible.
2. Dealing with emotions
If we encounter a problem, we feel angry, sad or frustrated. We often assume feeling angry or frustrated is something bad. Well, it isn’t. Your emotions are information that your body sends you to tell you if the situation you’re in is fine, great or terrible. Read that sentence again. According to this, all emotions are good, because they inform you about something. Anger gives you energy to change things. This energy may be used constructively or destructively. And if you try to suppress anger, it backfires and its destructive force is aimed at yourself. One of the ways to use this energy constructively is talking about your emotions.
3. Communicating your needs
Don’t assume your partner knows something unless you tell him/her. If being in a couple you feel your needs aren’t met, the simplest reason might be your partner just doesn’t know about them. And don’t assume that “hints” and allusions will to the trick. All ambiguities are understood in the way the person wants to understand them, that is in the other way than you want it to sound. If you want a massage and say “Oh, my back hurts so much!” your partner might just say “Then go to the doctor to have your spine checked”. Instead, just ask him to give you the massage.
4. Learning about each other
Living with another person is a journey full of surprises. It is almost impossible to know someone to the core before we decide to move in together. And even if you do, nobody stays the same the whole life – people develop and change. By communicating your needs and emotions, you allow your partner to get to know you and stay tuned with you. And vice versa – you learn things you haven’t known. It is vital to listen and acknowledge the changes that happen in your partner, as well as things that were already there, but you just haven’t seen them yet.
5. Mutual growth
Thanks to learning about each other, you can develop in the same direction. You not only learn who your partner is, but also who he/she wants to be. What is more, you learn what things in you disturb them and then you can think what to do with this information. You can either change your attitudes or habits, expect your partner to change, or alter the ways both of you act. Also, learning the art of achieving an agreement is one of the most important skills in the society, which may help you in all areas of your life.
6. Increased trust and intimacy
Arguments are times when we say a lot. We say bad things, but we also say the deepest truths about ourselves. The truths unknown to the majority of people, that only the closest ones might acknowledge, understand and accept. If you let your partner know one of your secrets, it makes your relation closer, more intimate and at the same time makes both of you trust each other more.
7. Feeling better
Although thinking about an argument to have is almost never pleasant, if the situation is handled right, it makes us feel better in many ways. First of all, letting go of your emotions allows you to become calmer. Getting rid of the frustration and anger that led to the fight in itself makes you feel better. What is more, solving problems not only makes you happier, because certain things are done, but also gives you the feeling of power to change things in your life.
8. Saving the relationship
All in all, arguments are so important in every relationship, because they allow you not only to survive, but to thrive. They prevent the slow drifting away that leads people to say “I don’t know him anymore” or “She’s a different person than 20 years ago”. There was a study by Joseph Grenny cited in The Guardian which proves that couples who do argue, stay together.
I recommend my follow-up post “How to argue wisely and successfully”.