Couples Argue

Can You Stop Arguing? Make The Situation Better

Spouses in an arguing couple often make the situation worse.

Couples Argue

Arguing couples usually feel they are stuck in a rut and fighting much of the time. If you are part of an arguing couple, whether married or in a long-term relationship, you can probably learn to change this angry, corrosive behavior and make your marriage better than ever.

Destructive Behavior Takes Time To Develop

When you began your relationship, if you were like most people, you were probably on your best behavior. If you and your spouse developed a destructive behavior pattern, it probably took some time for that to happen.

Sometimes, the honeymoon behavior lasts for several years. Some couples only notice things have turned bad after the pattern has persisted for some time.

Some spouses will put up with considerable bad behavior by the spouse thinking of the bigger picture of the marriage. This situation can go on for years until the other partner does or says something egregious, and then the spouse’s tolerance drops to zero.

Not All Arguing is Bad

A stereotypical picture of a couple arguing might show angry faces and one or both spouses pointing fingers of blame. However, constructive arguing is also possible.

Dr. Beate Ditzen and her colleagues from the Institute of Psychology at the University of Zurich demonstrated the idea of constructive arguing in a 2008 study.

Constructive Arguing: A Study

Dr. Ditzen and her colleagues identified listening, confirming and laughing as observable positive behavior in the midst of arguments.

Negative behavior during a marital argument was identified as interrupting, criticizing or degrading your partner.

In this study, they administered the hormone oxytocin to some of the couples. Oxytocin is thought to be one of the physical messengers in our body that encourages social bonding. The couples who received the oxytocin showed significantly more positive behavior and a reduced level of the stress hormone cortisol than the couples who didn’t receive the hormone.

The administration of the hormone here is not important to our discussion.

The important consideration here is identifying healthy arguing behaviors versus non-productive, or even destructive, arguing behaviors.

Also, one can see from this University of Zurich study on oxytocin and arguing that the stress hormone cortisol is released in greater quantities in the arguing couples who exhibit the negative behaviors. From this we learn that not only is constructive behavior during arguing more satisfying emotionally, it also has less of a negative impact on us physically.

You Can Change Your Arguing Behavior

Imagine having a mental awareness and commitment to the positive behaviors mentioned above and a promise to yourself not to engage in the negative behaviors of interrupting, criticizing or degrading your spouse or partner while you are in an argument.

Would you argue differently?

Notice that I suggested a commitment to yourself, not to your spouse. The only way these changes work is by self-management. You have to want to be a better person, not for your partner, but for yourself.

Some of you can read this and make the necessary changes. Others of you will need assistance to make those changes.

Wishing you all success in creating a great marriage,