Q: My husband and I argue a
lot. We are not sure if this is just a
habit we have fallen into or if it is a sign of trouble. How do we know if it is a danger signal?
your arguing seems to clear the air and ultimately helps the two of you feel
closer, then I would say your arguing is serving a positive purpose.
is a part of all intimate relationships. The key here is how you argue. Are your arguments fair and relationship building or are they the kind
that are painful, abusive, do not lead to resolution, and in fact become a
barrier between the two of you?
suggestions for arguing and resolving differences in a constructive way that is
relationship building are as follows:
1. Be sure you are both clear about what
the issue is before you start. Restate
each other’s argument or viewpoint to be sure you have heard your partner
correctly. It is amazing how often
people start an argument and waste a lot of energy on the wrong issue.
2. Use “I messages” to avoid blaming, such
as “I feel,” “I perceive,” ”I want,” “I would appreciate,” etc.
3. Always complete and argument. You may need or want to stop your argument
temporarily if it is getting destructive or if time does not permit completion,
but be sure to plan a specific time (such as 7:00 tonight) to continue. The partner who stops the argument needs to
initiate the rescheduling.
4. Check in with yourself to find out if
your fight is being fueled by feelings of fear, disappointment, loneliness, or
feelings of not being appreciated. These
feelings need to be addressed. A minor
incident can trigger a major argument if these feelings have been building up.
5. Arguing and alcohol don’t mix. Avoid arguments if either of you has been
drinking, as you will not be able to follow fair fight rules. If you notice that arguments typically start
after drinking, I would recommend seeking professional help.