In successful relationships, there's often some fighting from time to time. Life can be stressful and difficult and you might not always be on the same page with your partner. With tensions running high, sometimes seemingly small disagreements can turn into bigger arguments. That's not always a bad thing, however, as long as it's handled appropriately. There are even some fights couples need to have to keep the romance alive to keep the romance alive, fights that help you hash out your differences on important topics and help you make sure that you both understand one another and are able to come to some sort of agreement or compromise moving forward.
"Fights between couples can be helpful and in fact happen in the best of marriages," Dr. Saudia L. Twine, Ph.D., NCC, LLPC, LLMFT, a marriage and family therapist, tells Romper in an email exchange. "The goal of a fight is to be able to recover from it, process what has happened, and make things better, thus proving the couple can overcome challenges and obstacles encountered in the marriage. Fights show there is still passion and investment in the marriage."
How you fight, however, can be just as important — if not more — than about what, exactly, it is that you're fighting.
"Hurtful arguing can have damaging affects whereas helpful arguing can have strengthening affects between the couple," Twine says. "Couples get into trouble thinking that their way is the right way and their partner is wrong. As a result they try to persuade their partner in seeing that their point of view is the only correct one. This style of fighting undermines your partner’s feelings and value. Whereas when couples employ understanding before problem solving then they evidence their concern for understanding their partner’s position."
Some topics are especially important to fully, openly, and honestly discuss. From how you feel in the relationship to your finances, sex life, and more, some arguments might just be necessary to have. If these arguments start to occur all the time, however, talking things out with a professional can also be a good idea.
1. Fights About Feeling Lonely
If you're feeling lonely in your relationship, that's something that you absolutely need to be honest about with your partner. Even though it could lead to a fight and it's a difficult topic to bring up in conversation, it's still something they need to know. "Couples should be talking about the hard stuff more often, instead of just focusing on the little annoyances and grievances," Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, a psychotherapist, relationship coach, and divorce mediator, tells Romper via email. "Couples who can share feelings that they know will be hard for their partner to hear will increase their intimacy and help them rekindle their passion."
2. Fights About Their Sex Life
"A couple should not be afraid to ask for what they want in a relationship, what they want in the bedroom, etc," Jenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI-MP, a relationship coach and expert, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Fight for your needs, fight for your desires, because at the end of the day, how do you expect to get what you want and keep the romance alive if your partner doesn’t even know what you want or how you want it?" If you're not feeling fulfilled in the bedroom, you and your partner need to have an honest conversation about it.
3. Fights About Your Finances
Even if you have separate finances, if you're in a long-term committed relationship, there will likely be some ways that each of your financial habits and statuses will affect the other. "The number one cause of stress in relationships is money," Carla Romo, a dating and relationship coach, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Fighting about finances is a great opportunity to establish individual and mutual spending boundaries. This a great time to discuss ways to intimately spend time together as a couple."
4. Fights About Communication
Communication is important, but sometimes it can be seriously difficult. If you and your partner are struggling with miscommunications or fall into a pattern of not communicating with one another, you need to talk about it, even if it results in a fight. "You're never going to have perfect communication in your relationship and lack of it can easily trigger a fight," Romo says. "This is actually a great time for you and your partner to discuss ways to communicate more effectively and want you need [or] want from each other. This will bring you both closer together because you both feel heard and understood."
5. Fights About Priorities
You might not always agree about your priorities, but arguing about them can help clarify what's important to you in your partner's mind. "Fighting about priorities can help establish independence within yourself," Romo says. "It allows room for your partner to respect your independence while appreciating your role in the relationship. Building this mutual respect can actually allow your partner to become more mindful toward you creating a closer connection."
6. Fights About How You Relate To Your Families
"Couples should 'fight' sometimes," Whitney Hawkins, MS.Ed, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist, tells Romper by email. "In fact, couples with no arguing actually tend to have less fulfillment. What really matters is how couples fight and how they repair after disagreements." Hawkins says that it's important for couples to discuss how they relate to their families, even if there's some arguing and disagreeing that comes along with that discussion. Knowing where the other person stands on these important issues, as well as what's most important to you and what the two of you are willing to compromise on, can help keep the romance between the two of you alive.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.