“For better or for worse.”
This vow in the marriage ceremony is often misunderstood or undervalued, especially when issues such as disagreements come in. Culture has long implied that marital arguments are taboo in a marriage, and may be a sign that something in the relationship isn’t working.
However, studies in recent years claim that fighting can actually be good for your marriage, and even make it stronger. One study, for example, suggests it is beneficial for married couples to fight at least once a week.
But according to the Wall Street Journal, there are certain “criteria” that determine whether a marital fight is beneficial or not:
Research shows it’s how we fight—where, when, what tone of voice and words we use, whether we hear each other out fairly—that’s critical. If we argue poorly, we may end up headed for divorce court. Yet if we argue well, experts say, we actually may improve our relationship.
The same article cited that there is a way to fight “better” or more constructively, in a manner that can actually save your marriage rather than tear it apart.
Fights are like exercise
According to marriage author Greg Godek, fighting that occurs in the context of a marital relationship can be a means towards connection for spouses. While fighting is never a pleasant experience when it’s in the heat of the moment, the outcomes of such arguments can be positive.
Godek illustrates this strain of marital fights using exercise as an example: Working out may not be pleasant for many, but the results they yield are beneficial to our bodies. In the same way, fights in the context of the marital relationship can be unpleasant, but they can yield a positive and strengthening quality that benefits the marriage.
Purposeful fighting = Stronger bond in marriage
Oprah.com’s guest relationship therapist Sharon Rivkin maintains that couples need to be purposeful about fighting, citing that there are certain fights that can “save” a marriage. Fights between spouses are different, explains Rivkin, because the fights serve more than just a win-lose goal. Instead of spouses trying to find fault with one another, the goal of purposeful fighting is to understand what is causing the conflict between two partners.
In the end, a purposeful fight should lead to couples respecting each other’s views, gaining new insights into each other’s way of thinking, and accepting each other, which leads to better intimacy. This, in effect, makes the marriage stronger.
Tell us: Has fighting served a purpose in your marriage or partnership? Share you thoughts in the comment section below.
About Martine De Luna
I'm a freelance writer, editor, blogger and former preschool teacher. Married with one kid, I'm a work-at-home mom, but most of all, a mom-in-the-works. I'm a work in progress, and I believe that living intentionally day by day will help me become the best mom for my child.Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts (41)