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Why It's Okay to Argue

Updated: Apr 3



Couples and marital and relationship therapy in Philadelphia


Engaging in arguments is a natural and crucial aspect of intimate relationships. Ignoring conflict might seem like a temporary solution, but it often lurks beneath the surface, waiting to be addressed. Contrary to the common belief that arguing is a sign of trouble, conflict is a tool that can propel relationships towards deeper levels of understanding and connection. Here are three reasons why conflicts and the ensuing arguments can be beneficial for your relationship.

 

  1. Understanding Yourself and Relationship Desires:

Arguments can serve as a mirror reflecting our inner selves and illuminating what truly bothers us. Rather than fixating on the surface-level issue, it's essential to delve deeper. For instance, a recurring argument about household chores might not be about cleanliness but could indicate a feeling of being taken for granted or one partner needing a sense of calm and security and that not being understood by the other. By pulling apart these disputes through recurrent conversations, individuals can better comprehend their own feelings and desires within the relationship, paving the way for addressing the core issues. While most of would rather not understand ourselves more deeply through argument, keep in mind that relationships can foster a tremendous degree of self-growth by exposing vulnerable parts of ourselves that we may work on to make stronger.

 

2. Identifying Addressable Concerns:

How many times have you found yourself embroiled in an argument with a friend, partner or a family member and looked back wondering how it had happened? Unexpected arguments can reveal underlying concerns that need to be addressed in a relationship, as long as all parties can engage in relatively healthy dialogue. While it may be frustrating to become aware of a divide in a relationship over a particular topic, it is simultaneously an opportunity to strengthen your relationship by slowly coming together on the same page. The idea here is that individuals find themselves arguing and are able to return to the topic with cool heads, mutually understanding that the argument signified an area where there is a difference that can be bridged by understanding and empathic action.

 

3. Deepening Understanding, Trust, and Connection:

If I told you fighting was good for your relationship, you might not believe me. Of course, disrespectful fighting is not conducive to a good relationship, but when done with curiosity and a lack of defensiveness, relationship conflict can lead to deeper understanding, increased trust, and a more authentic connection. For instance, when one person feels the safety to express something that feels off in the relationship, if the initiator feels understood, they are likely to have increased trust knowing that their partner cares. The receiving parnter can feel assured that their partner cares enough about the relationship to be vulnerable with their concern. Instead of the connection being frayed because of a difference between two people, the relationship has been made closer through communication.

 

In conclusion, arguing with your partner is not inherently bad. Instead, it can be a productive and constructive aspect of a relationship. The key lies in moving through conflicts productively, understanding when arguments are helpful, and recognizing when they’ve become unproductive.

 

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