Is it normal for couples to fight?




Fighting can be healthy for a relationship or it can be extremely destructive. For example, the young couple pictured above is having a fight about money- one of the main cuases of partner conflict these days. Would you guess this is a healthy or destructive fight? I would guess the latter. Why? For one thing he is rolling his eyes which research shows is bad for a relationship. In addition, she looks like she is being extremely critical, another negative behavior that predicts divorce. Of course, we don't know what they are saying to each other, but it looks like maybe they are arguing over his spending too much money on something or he wants to spend money they don't have. 

Research shows that all couples fight. Fighting is not what separates successful from unsuccessful couples. The specific issue partners fight about is not nearly as important as How they handle conflict, How they communciate with each other, and How they start the argument to begin with. As compared to others, successful couples handle conflict very differently, they complain but don't criticize, and they have developed the art of what is known as the "softer startup."


Arguments over money often have an underlying emotional issue that is not being addressed. In this case, the partners may have different life dreams which collide. He may want to enjoy life and take vacations. She may have a dream of saving money so they can buy their own house one day. Discussing these differences in life dreams often helps to resolve the underlying anger and conflict with each other. Putting the issue on this level, takes it out of the realm of believing that your partner has character defects which account for his or her spending behaviors. 


clock September 8, 2011 00:32 by author Dr Tony Fiore