Why do we argue?

Knowing why you're really arguing can save your relationship

Arguments happen in every relationship. When I say “argument”, I don’t necessarily mean that there is yelling or even that anger is involved. This seems to be the case in a lot of instances, but what I’m referring to is a conversation wherein the people involved have a difference of opinion.

Sometimes things get heated and feelings get hurt. Sometimes it’s all too easy to overlook the times you both have been on cloud nine and all seemed right with the world.

I would, first, like to cover some theories about arguments and why so many marriages end due to “irreconcilable differences”. After giving you a week to process what I’m sharing, I would like to share some tips, tricks and suggestions on how to argue effectively with your partner. This is a step away from the traditional date ideas that I have presented so far, but it is an essential part of the overall goal – to create and maintain a loving relationship with open communication and everlasting courtship.

Arguments occur because of the trait that every human being shares. It’s not exclusive to anyone, regardless of gender, sexual preference, age, or race. That trait is the cause of divorce, fights and even war. It is the difficulty we all have in simply accepting and respecting another person’s right to a different opinion and to accept them as they are.

Think about it. All throughout history are examples of one person holding a certain belief and trying to force that belief on a group of people. Other parts of the world disagree so they jump to the aide (desired or not) of those deemed to be less fortunate or incapable of helping themselves. I am not, even slightly, suggesting that there aren’t circumstances where this isn’t necessary in order to maintain balance and discipline. I am merely pointing out the very basis for why things get heated in the first place.

Relationships are no different. There are two individuals who have each been raised with a certain set of beliefs and other beliefs that have been learned due to life experience. Here’s what a lot of people seem to forget – you fight because you care.

Even if you think the other person is completely off their rocker (and they may be), remind yourself that they are standing their ground, not to be disrespectful or because they don’t care. It is just the opposite. They care a great deal and are standing their ground because of a deeply routed belief system that cannot be changed by anyone except for them. Take a step back and marvel at the human spirit to fight for that in which it believes. Focus on the vulnerability the person in front of you is displaying.

Be you a man or a woman, expressing yourself and standing your ground makes you vulnerable to the person in front of you. You are saying, “Hey, this is me. I’m opening up and making myself available to ridicule and judgment.”

People often associate compatibility with another person by how much (or little) they argue. I disagree. Compatibility is simply the ability of both people in the relationship respecting the others right to a differing opinion and, at the very least, tolerating those differences. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to have anything in common or have to see eye to eye on certain issues. But that is an entirely different discussion.

This is all about realizing why you’re really arguing with one another and how you can see the truth as a means to strengthen your relationship. Come back next week to learn some tricks to effective arguing that could bring you closer together.

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7 thoughts on “Why do we argue?

  1. UURevDave says:

    I think it was the Gottman Institute that studied arguing to discover that THE determiner of success in relationships was whether during arguments 1) one partner interrupts the proceedings with levity AND 2) the other partner picks up on it and responds with levity in kind.

    In my wedding counseling, I highlight “Arguing” as a potential home-wreckers. Not arguing itself, but the ways and means of it.

    When I married my sister (ministers can do that, you know), the two decided to create a niche in the house that would remain available should the occasion arise to place a single long-stem rose symbolizing forgiveness for whatever argument or slight may have clouded the recent days. It’s been used occasionally. Sometimes two roses appear. It works for them as a reminder & interrupter.

    • I really like the rose idea. I have a few ideas that I will be sharing next week on what to do during an argument. Thank you for your input. Hearing other opinions is the most valuable asset to a writer.

  2. Heather says:

    My husband and I argue. Sometimes it is about legitimate things. Finances, the kids, work, blah blah. But a majority of the time, I think it’s just stress. Stress from us not really seeing each other a lot now (he works Mon-Fri, I work Sat and Sun), the pressure of our jobs (we both work for UPMC), the kids (they are in their defiant stage of life) and just life. And while we will be legitimately mad at each other, we’ve found going to different rooms to cool down and just not talking to one another for a bit helps. Yeah, not talking helps. lol. Our brains relax and then we hug AND we talk like civilized human beings.

  3. omgrey says:

    I love what you say here about compatibility. My recent ex said we just didn’t fit, a week after he was rejoicing in how well we did fit. The difference: his mood. In the latter, he was in a place of pain and fear, and he would hear nothing else.

    Learning to acknowledge and even celebrate differences, and always respect them, is essential in any healthy relationship.

    Thank you for your post.

  4. […] my previous post Why Do We Argue?, I explored the very basics of why people argue. To summarize briefly, it is because we all have […]

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