Here and now we’re giving you permission to argue! That’s because research shows that constructive arguments are one of the keys to a happy relationship. And there are some situations when experts say it’s always better to say what’s on your mind, than to hold back your feelings. So, here’s a list of some fights that are worth having, according to the book A Happy You, by psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo:
You’re overruled in front of the kids. Like when you punish your teen by taking away their phone, and then your partner gives it back. Dr. Lombardo says it’s important for parents to present a united front with their kids – because otherwise, kids will learn to divide and conquer. That’ll turn a problem with your kids into a problem between you and your spouse! So, pull your partner aside and say: “Let’s get on the same page with this, because I want our kids to take us seriously.” Then make a rule that if one of you makes a decision, the other has to stick with it – no matter what.
Go ahead and argue when you’re offended by something your partner’s family or friend says. Like if you’re at a family dinner, and your mother-in-law makes a comment about your looks. It’s normal to be angry if your partner doesn’t defend you, but you should never hold them accountable for someone else’s actions. Instead, when the two of you are alone, explain why it made you upset. Then, say “What can we do about this?” And come up with a plan for handling things like that in the future.
You’re worried about your partner’s health. Like if they have a persistent cough, or they’re always getting headaches. Dr. Lombardo says a lot of people ignore health problems because they don’t want to hear bad news. But instead of nagging, approach health issues with concern, say something like: “I love you so much, and want you to be around as long as possible. Please see a doctor about that cough.” That sends the message that you’re looking out for your partner’s well-being, not just your own peace of mind.