If you have never had an argument or fight in your relationship, then you’re very lucky.
Arguing ‘well’ is an acquired skill, and one that can only improve with practice. People don’t see eye-to-eye at all time, especially when they are in a relationship for many years – everyone experiences relationship turbulence; its completely normal. But if your disagreements are getting nasty, becoming more frequent, and leading to shouting and aggressive behaviours, the only end you will see is unresolved conflict, usually silence, rejection, hurt, and resentment — it’s time to see psychologist.
Psychologists are experts in human behaviour. They have studied the foundations of relationships, and continue to investigate, analyse and observe as their main profession. Seeing a psychologist is often a revelation — you may come to realise that the dance you’ve been doing all this time isn’t unique to your romantic relationship, but a pattern of behaviour that can be recognised in all of your relationships in general, be it; professional, family, friends, colleagues. However, the process of therapy is gradual, and often requires that you overcome one milestone at a time before tackling any major habituated behaviours.
If you have been arguing and fighting with your partner, this would be a good place to start. Couples counselling is a great way to learn how to argue ‘well’ and ultimately communicated better (broadly). A relationship psychologist (or ‘couples counsellor’ — they are on in the same) can help you explore ways to break the repetitive cycles of communication breakdown, so that you can learn to grab ahold of the olive branch – rather than hitting your partner over the head with it. Psychologist will also work with you to discover if anything deeper lies behind the arguments you’ve been having. Anger and aggression sometimes comes from sadness, and avoidance is oftentimes a consequence of resentment. Anxiety and depression for each individual can also play a major role in communication.
It’s impossible to have a relationship without periodically having disagreements with one another. But when you don’t have the skills necessary to manage those disagreements in a healthy way, you may find yourself trapped in a perpetual cycle of arguing and fighting. The Three Seas Group can’t remove conflict from your relationship, but we can teach you the skills you need to manage conflict in a way that doesn’t result in intense fights.
Why Do We Argue and Fight?
Unless you clone yourself, it’s impossible to have a relationship with someone who agrees with you about everything — who would really want that, anyway? Disagreements and healthy debates in relationships help us change and grow, while offering us new perspectives which we might never be able to access. When you spend your life with another person with different needs and beliefs, disagreements are inevitable. Fighting and arguing, though, doesn’t necessarily need to be hurtful.
In most relationships (couples or otherwise) fights will inevitably centre around a few key issues. In a marriage for example, each of you may envision a different lifestyle for the both of you —maybe you love television and your spouse craves quiet time alone, or perhaps your spouse likes to be pedantic about cleaning, and you don’t value cleanliness in the same way — there are some differences between people that will never change; and as independent individuals, like it or not, we cannot control another persons behaviour. What we can do, however, is learn to communicate empathically: that is, understanding the needs and feelings of the other and communicating for the sake of honesty and compromise. Maybe the core of your arguments is that you find your partner’s family is intolerable — this is a challenging issue, and it may always be challenging. We are unable to control anyone else’s behaviours aside from our own. With good communication, an issue such as this, can be managed without constant fighting and arguments. Stubborn conflict is never a means to an end.
Fighting and arguing will often follow a predictable cycle; it starts with a single issue or two, but when you begin arguing, both sides are willing to say just about anything to “win.” Soon, you’re fighting about the entire history of your relationship, everything you’ve ever thought, done, or said, and everything about your future. It doesn’t have to be this way. We’ll show you how to break this cycle so that you can stay focused on the issue at hand.
The Role of Better Communication
Every couple wants better communication, but for most people, it’s tough to hone the skills necessary to actually master good communication. It’s easy to point the finger at your spouse, but good communication is a joint undertaking. By mastering better communication skills, you make it possible to discuss disagreements without being the antagonist.
Research suggests that some communication styles are more damaging than others. Those include:
- Contempt — the practice of dismissing your partner’s feelings and behaving as if you don’t care.
- Stonewalling — the tendency to avoid conflict by actively or passively refusing to engage. For instance, you might leave the house or hang up on your partner.
- Defensiveness — when you respond to every allegation with a defence, or by blaming your partner. It’s becomes challenging for your partner to feel heard. This makes it nearly impossible to effectively address the issue at hand.
- Criticism — sometimes criticism is unavoidable, but in most relationships, both partners criticise one another too much and praise each other far too little.
Unfortunately, these behaviours are all too common in most relationships or marriages, and study after study has shown that they are major predictors of divorce. There are better ways of communicating, but you must be
willing to put in the work!
How The Three Seas Counselling Can Help
Three Seas helps you address your issues in a variety of ways. First, we’ll work with you to understand the core problems in your relationship. From there, we help you tackle each problem one by one, in a healthy and kind way. We’ll give you assignments for home so that you can practice what you’ve learned, and we’ll watch you discuss issues while offering meaningful feedback on what you can do better.
If we notice a prolonged pattern of unhealthy communication, we’ll work directly to help you disrupt this pattern. And if life stressors, mental illness, or unspoken disputes are at the heart of your challenges, we can help you address these, too.