Fair Fights Are Healthy For Marriage

“You often come late and now don’t give me the same old excuse that seniors have to work late,” , Raman lost control on himself and raised his voice as soon as Hema entered her home.  “ I don’t like the way you take things, You have some responsibilities towards your family.” Hema was quick to retort “Don’t try to teach me my duties; I have some responsibilities towards my work also. Company is giving me a huge pay packet for my work and don’t forget because of that only we are able to maintain such a lavish lifestyle. Hema lost her temper too “Stop interfering all the time in my life,” and both started fighting.

“You bitch; you think you can control me, just because you are earning more than me. I am your husband and being a male I am more powerful than you. You egoistic woman, you can’t play power games with me.” Raman tried to slap her, but Hema was ready to counter him.

friction 2

Accepting The New Power Woman

It was not a one day affair. Their  home was a battle zone, where toxic verbal exchanges and physical shoving  an everyday issue. In today’s corporate culture where the woman is equally strong financially, she wants to live on her own terms. She does not want to compromise just  to gratify the male ego. It is good to grow financially but somehow still society is not in the position to accept this new woman and thus these literate couples fight like immature people.

Money, power, sex and ego are the four major factors of battle among couples. Dr Vandana V. Prakash, Senior Consultant psychologist, Fortis Hospital, Noida explain, “Harmony in marriage is not selecting the right partner but being the right partner. Partners do not match or mismatch but the trick is on knowing how to conduct  oneself to handle such mismatch. Since both partners have an equal responsibility to make the marriage work each partner needs to introspect on his or her own behaviour.” Fighting is an important and inevitable ingredient in a marriage. “But fighting can be fair and unfortunately most of the time is unfair. Most often couples fight over issues like money, sex, work, children, housework and social obligations,” she adds.

friction 3

Suppression of emotions

If we look at the other side of the coin, we will find that couples who have healthy fights develop a kind of marital efficacy that makes the marriage stronger as time goes on. A good fight among the partners will help them to live longer and a spark remains alive which excites them all the time. The husbands and wives who suppress their emotions are likely to die earlier than those who speak out their emotions.Suppressing the emotions will lead to much health related disorders that will end up in death. If the couple expresses their anger by shouting out their emotions to solve their conflict, they are expected to live longer than one or both of the couple who used to suppress their emotions.

Arguments are healthy

Mumbai based sociologist Dr. Sadhna Bermi feels that certain kinds of fights can improve some marriages. “Arguments in which one or the other partner becomes defensive or stubborn, or complain or withdraws, are particularly disparaging. Those fights in which the partners freely express their anger while not letting the intensity escalate out of control promise well for the future,” she says.

What Is Healthy Fighting

Arguments per se are not unhealthy. How one argues is more important. “Fair fighting is a healthy predictor in marriage. But what is healthy fighting?” points  out Vandana.  She further states, “ If arguments are being conducted and situations and issues are being discussed and not persons, then it could be good. As long as past experiences are not continuously being dragged in, no name calling or excessive sarcasm is used it is positive. Try less blaming and less usage of ‘you’ statements and do not drag in  other personalities like children and in-laws would indicate a healthy argument. Conversely, when couples tend to convert arguments as mud slinging matches, vent out unspoken hostility by drawing out skeletons from the cupboard then it leads to unhealthy fights.”

But in some marriages, the absence of fights may portend poorly for a couple. In some marriages where couples decides not to fight, things are fine as long as their lives go well, but if something bad happens, they are too brittle to handle the problem. They are not strong emotionally and thus their relationship breaks in no time. Experts feel that wives are the emotional managers of most marriages; her anger is a valuable resource in a omarriage. But her anger should not drive her husband away – make him withdraw, or defensive.

How To Handle Conflicts

Every married couple will have disagreements. One of the keys to a successful relationship is to know how to handle conflict. Make sure you clarify what it is that you disagree on while you are discussing issues. Active listening and articulate talking leads to healthy relationship whereas miscommunication, inability to recognise the emotions of the spouse and selective listening would all lead to fights amongst the couple. Be flexible and open to accepting other solutions more than your own. Willingness to compromise is important. Remember that a fair argument can enhance a marriage. Fight for your marriage, not just to win the argument.  The key is for both spouses to be comfortable expressing anger, rather than one or both suppressing anger.

 Growing through friction

Fights not only energise marriages, but also damage it . Actually  increase of  frequency, duration, and intensity of the conflict, can  breed ever-increasing bitterness. However, in some cases, fighting and arguing over differences of opinion, can actually bring about ‘growth’ in both partners, help them feel more bonded and connected with each other, and also feel more empathetic towards each other. Nonetheless, fighting couples need to learn to forget and forgive each other. They need to be more receptive to alternative ways of thinking, opinions and dealing with situations, fight over issues and not to gain supremacy in marriage and argue without raising voice and using other body parts to settle arguments.

When the fight goes down to attacking the personal worth of the other and the conflict kills the spirit of one or both of the partners, then such fighting kills the relationship. However, if the attitude of both the partners is healthy and positive, fight is like an opportunity to mature and learn the fineness of relationship. Fights are like a mirror which shows our flaws and alert us to reform ourselves.

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