It’s not exactly the Valentine’s Day sentiment that most lovebirds would expect from their significant other, but a recent study found that couples who fight through their differences constructively, instead of avoiding them, are better because of it.
The research, according to The Guardian, surveyed nearly 1,000 adults and discovered that pairs who said they argue were 10 times more likely to be happy together than those who tiptoed around their problems and shunned conflict.
“The biggest mistake that couples make is avoidance,” Joseph Grenny, an author who was not involved with the study, told The Guardian. “We feel something but say nothing. At least until we can’t stand it anymore …
“We tend to avoid these conversations because we are conscious of the risks of speaking up, but unconscious of the risks of not speaking up,” added Grenny, co-author of the bestselling “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High.”
That seems to have played a part in the disintegration of the previous relationships of the people involved in the study.
More than four out of five of them said that poor communication was one reason for a prior breakup. Half of them said it was “significant” grounds for the split.
But most importantly – and perhaps relatable – less than one in five of those surveyed said that they were usually to blame for a conversation with their partner turning into a fight.
“The biggest unconscious mistake couples make is failing to take emotional responsibility for their feelings,” Grenny said. “We think others are ‘making’ us feel the way we are – and fail to see our role in our own emotions. That’s why, when we discuss our concerns with our loved one, we are so often filled with blame and provoke defensiveness.”
The top areas couples have difficulties discussing without the conversation devolving into an argument are money, sex and pet peeves, Grenny said.
“The success of a relationship is determined by the way in which sensitive issues are debated,” he said. “True love takes work. Real intimacy is not just about love but is also about truth. And crucial conversations are the vehicle for surfacing truth in a way that accelerates a feeling of intimacy, trust and connection.”