On the weekend I was in the car with my boyfriend, who was driving, and I caught myself getting more and more frustrated with him. What should have been a cruise and relaxing drive to the beach was turned into a kinda stressful morning — the perfect setting for a relationship fight.
Why? Well, my boyfriend isn’t what I would call the best driver (my opinion of course, oops). am quite a zippy driver and even though he might think I am too zippy, I often find that when he drives I want to tell him how to drive better…
I know, I know, drivers make the worst passengers and who’s to say my driving is better than his!
Now, I don’t always voice what I am feeling, I’ve learned to keep some of my thoughts to myself, though as I hold onto the seat and grit my teeth I’m stressed to the core, and I want to tell him what to do…
Like, “Speed up babe, you’re driving too slow.”
Or, “ You should have turned then, you didn’t need to wait for the other person.”
Or, “Oh my god, you would have fitted in that spot, I can’t believe you didn’t try.” (I would have and now we have to drive around for another 30 mins trying to find another one!)
I have to admit sometimes my thoughts do escape my mind and pass my lips — and guess what happens. I feel mean and he feels like crap.
Huge arguments can start like this and I’m sure you’ve often wondered if arguing is healthy in a relationship. This driving story is a simple example of how arguments start and how no matter how evolved we are, our sensitive and at times overzealous ego can hurt not only ourselves but also a relationship.
Is it healthy to argue with your partner?
Well, all relationships come with challenges, whether it’s a man you’re in a relationship with, a child, a parent, a colleague or friend. From time to time all relationships will need to navigate a few waves or even storms. Yet, romantic ones are a special case.
Whether we like to admit to it or not, in romantic relationships it’s not uncommon for people to treat their partner worse than they would treat an enemy. For some couples, it’s normal to argue very often. Why is that?
Well, intimate relationships are simply very up close and personal, so it’s far more difficult to hide your deeper more complex feelings and triggers. Also, many tend to get “attached” to their partner in a way that can create extra pressure…
Basically, there are so many expectations at play in a romantic relationship, even if you know that expectations are unhealthy, most of us have them!
The good news in that arguing is a form of communication that can actually be very productive communication.
How can we argue in a way that brings us closer to the person we love, rather than driving a wedge between us that over time gets harder and harder to bridge?
My answer: partnership.
If you want to argue well then you need some healthy arguing techniques. Think of your relationship in the terms of a partnership. You are partners. Whenever an argument starts brewing, you need to think of the greater good of the relationship rather than fight for your ego or feed your need to control, to be always right, and ultimately, to win.
A partnership isn’t just a standard relationship. A partnership is a place where two people agree to a destination and work out how to get there together. They are willing to learn and grow to achieve the desired outcome – truly lasting companionship.
So, there is nothing wrong with relationship fights. Pulling apart a relationship knot doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. In fact, when you approach a conflict in a productive way, it’s really all about communication and learning about each other and yourself.
The healthy way is finding the balance between wanting to vent something – and listening to your partner’s side of the story. This is productive, not destructive arguing. It’s healthy arguing. Destructive arguing involves two people who want to be heard but don’t have any intention of hearing the other one. How is this pro-partnership?
Sure, it’s easy to get your back up about an issue, it’s easy to react to what you perceive as a problem, it’s easy to blame someone else. But what most of us don’t realise is that very often we react to something that irritates us but the root cause of our irritation in inside us, not our partner.
A large part of how we date and relate is unconscious. When we react to something it’s not always clear why we are reacting to that precise thing and why it affects us.
To go back to my story…
When I feel the urge to say something negative to my partner, to put him down, or pick on him for something, chances are something is going on inside of me and I’m taking it out on him.
When I’m feeling impatient this is not his problem when I am judging him or believe that he should be able to reverse into a small car spot like I can, this is not his issue. Sure, if he is driving too close to the cars in front then I may want to voice it, though if the issue is not about safety then it’s time for me to get over myself and relax.
So, here’s the thing. If you want to love wholeheartedly and feel safe, then you and your partner need to be on the same path – the path to partnership.
There will be hiccups to navigate along this path and as long as you handle them with mindfulness and care you and your man should be able to go from strength to strength!
Seek to understand each other and you will thrive in love!