For most of us except for a few outliers who are stimulated by them…
Arguments are uncomfortable and we’d rather not have them.
But the truth is that we’re all different…
And we disagree…
We end up arguing for our point of view because we believe we’re right and the way the other person is looking at it is wrong.
Those arguments can look all sorts of ways…
–One person is more verbal than the other and always seems to get his or her way as the other person clams up and shuts down
–Both people escalate to loud shouting and which possibly spills into name-calling, threats or physical violence
–One or both people avoid conflict and as resentment builds so does the potential for an emotional explosion
In all these, nothing is resolved.
So are arguments bad for your relationships?
Here’s Francis’ story that can shed some light on the question…
Francis and her husband couldn’t seem to agree on much.
Lately, their arguments had gotten especially heated especially about his adult son from a previous marriage.
She wanted her husband to stop all contact with him because she thought the people his son ran around with were dangerous and on drugs.
She didn’t want her husband involved and they argued every time he sent a text or tried to contact his son.
Francis contacted us for coaching because she knew these arguments weren’t healthy for their relationship and she wanted a resolution to their conflict.
As we talked here’s some of what she discovered about arguments…
1. Arguments are based on wanting the other person to think like you do–and they don’t
Most of us have the unspoken idea that life would be so much better if we all agreed about everything.
Well, we don’t agree and that’s one of the places where the juice in life can come from.
Francis saw that she really thought she was right on this topic and her husband was wrong…
Even gullible and naïve when if came to his son.
As we talked, she saw how much fear she’d kept hidden which fueled her anger and kept it alive.
2. An argument or disagreement can be a doorway to understanding
In order to see the doorway, you have to take a step out of the emotion and holding on so tightly to your point of view.
This doesn’t mean you give up what you value.
It just means that you stop and open to connecting with the other person.
As Francis stepped back, she could see how tightly she was trying to manage her husband and how little trust she had in him.
She still didn’t agree that her husband’s son should be in their lives…
But as she loosened her grip, she saw that she did have a choice…
To continue with the arguments the way they have been which created only distance between them…
Or to open to really listening to her husband and talking about what might work for both of them.
3. When you open to connecting, a path will open for you
In our experience, when we open to connection instead of getting our way…
A resolution does show up that we both can agree on.
As Francis allowed herself to listen instead of repeatedly argue the same points…
She saw that her husband’s defenses calmed down as he explained his views about his son and the interactions he wanted to have with him.
Francis realized that when she really listened, she and her husband agreed more than she thought.
She could see that the fearful future that she had imagined that the son would take their money and corrupt their lives…
Didn’t have to happen.
Her husband didn’t want that any more than she did.
As they worked out an agreement, Francis realized that she needed to lay down her mistrust of her husband.
She saw that she didn’t need to stand guard on their live but that it would became apparent if her fears were coming true.
Now we know that one person laying down their tight hold on their point of view doesn’t always mean that the other person will do the same.
But what we do know is that when you open to connecting, you’ll get a clear picture of what you do next.
When your mind isn’t stuck in arguing your point of view, you’ll see something new.
So are arguments bad for a relationship?
Differences are a given but they don’t have to escalate to an argument that does nothing but tear down connection.