Not “if,” But “How” Couples Argue Matters
Not “if,” But “How” Couples Argue Matters
My husband and I got into a fight yesterday. No physicality, but let’s just say we exchanged various words and phrases in a rather assertive manner. Believe it or not, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Couples argue. People disagree. Arguments can ensue, and certain situations can arise where separation or divorce can ensue. The thing is, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean that it’s anyone’s fault. If you have gotten to the point where a relationship is ending, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your partner’s fault. That said, it doesn’t have to mean it’s your fault. Sometimes the dissolution of a relationship simply means you weren’t a good fit for each other. Sometimes stuff just happens.
The Challenges of Relationships & Arguments
I find that the challenge of relationships is about growth and learning how to relate to others amid difficulties. To end a marriage or relationship only to pick another partner who only knows “the same dance” (as I often say) doesn’t help you in the long run. Yes, things happen, but I suggest learning from the dissolution of a relationship rather than dancing the same dance to the same tune.
My partner and I don’t often argue (or fight like we did yesterday). But on the few occasions we do, we’ve never tried to hide it from our child. Of greater importance, we’ve never put our child in the middle of our disagreements. You see, it’s not a matter of if you and any partner you have will fight or argue, but how couples argue or fight.
I think we would all agree that physical violence is never a good idea and is never acceptable. Yet I would also assert that a sort of “passive-aggressive” form of conflict, or a manipulative one, is not very helpful (especially when children are involved). My partner grew up in a very violent home. But it was also a home filled with manipulation and emotional abuse (for all involved). I’ve spent 40 years in the field of family law, and, sadly, I must admit, I’ve seen many dysfunctional harmful relationships play out to the detriment of the whole family. Sadly, I have to say that I’ve been in practice long enough that I’ve seen 2 to even 3 generations of families ripped apart by the same patterns of maladaptive relationships.
My partner has done a tremendous amount of personal work and therapy over the course of decades. My partner has given me insight into his struggles, and I know that I have provided him with perspectives he had never considered before. The point is that we’ve grown together. We’ve come to see our relationship with each other as paramount: it doesn’t matter who was “wrong” or “right.” More importantly, we view our child’s growth, development, and happiness as more imperative than what either of us wants or desires.
Somehow we’ve learned over the years that at a certain point, it’s better for both of us to disengage, spend some time on opposite sides of the house and cool down and reflect on what is actually happening at the moment. Now, bear with me. This will sound odd, but it works for us. Many times what will end up happening is my husband will come back into the room I’m in and say something to the effect of: “I’ve thought it all over and have decided to forgive you.” I never fail to erupt with laughter – and then all the tension is gone. The reason is that I know what he’s actually saying is, “I love you so much, and I would really appreciate it if you would forgive me.” He doesn’t want to admit that he’s wrong (and he can be), but he’s found that approaching the situation this way allows him to apologize (at least initially) without actually saying it. The key here is that neither of us is “keeping score.” We live our lives in a way where no one “wins” unless we all “win.”
In our relationship, there is a give and take. There are certain things my spouse does that drive me nuts. At the same time, I know there are certain things I do that drive him nuts. And ultimately, we find that our relationship and (especially) the value we both place on our child’s well-being and happiness is more important than any disagreements we may have on any other matter.
All couples argue. Yes, at times, my partner and I argue and fight. But it’s not “if” we’re going to argue or fight. It’s always about “how” we go about it that makes all the difference in the world.
Want to Know More?
If you are interested in a consultation to discuss the options available to resolve your divorce, custody issues, support, or equitable distribution issues, please contact me and I can help you investigate your options. Call me, Lenore M.J. Myers, at 215-470-3121 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.