Why Couples Argue

Arguing is one way people often protect themselves from their fears and anxieties in relationship. Research into successful marriages has found, however, that frequent arguing does not predict divorce. Some couples argue, others don't. It has also been observed that approximately 2/3rds of disagreements in successful marriages never get resolved. What does this tell us?

Successful couples, even when they do argue or disagree, find ways to maintain
connection with each other. Doing so, of course, may seem easier said than done. One thing can help: Understanding that all anger, defensiveness, resentment, etc., is fueled by a “fear-threat-feeling”. Awareness of how angry behaviors protect our vulnerable hearts from painful feelings helps us relate differently with ourselves and with our partners. We can learn how to reestablish connection as arguments arise or through repair.

Arguing is a way of coping with fear. However, arguing can also obscure your awareness of your own vulnerable feelings. In the long run, appreciating and accepting your own fearful feelings teaches how to compassionately soothe your own hurt and pain. And, clarifying your own pain can help decrease arguing when you share your authentic fears with your partner. --Doug