How do you and your partner handle disagreements? Do you argue your own point until the other party gives in or gets fed up, or do you genuinely try to understand each other’s viewpoints in order to come to a solution?
Hopefully it’s the latter because according to a recent study from researchers at the University of California, couples who make an effort to understand each other during arguments are more satisfied in their relationship compared to those who don’t.
Arguments are seemingly something to be avoided in a relationship, but according to the study, disagreements can actually prove helpful in a relationship when carried out in a constructive manner.
“Evidence [...] suggests that feeling understood during conflict may buffer against reduced relationship satisfaction, in part because it strengthens the relationship and signals one's partner is invested,” said study authors Amie Gordon and Serena Chen according to The Independent.
The three-year study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, involved following 107 married couples in their 20s or 30s and analyzing each individual’s relationship satisfaction.
Results showed that couples who argued more were less satisfied in their relationship compared to those that argued less. Here’s the catch though. If the couple did argue but made an effort to understand each other, they were more likely to not feel the dissatisfaction.
Plus, they also found that individuals who felt that they were understood by their partner rated their relationship satisfaction even higher than before their argument. Arguing bettered their relationship!
The authors speculate that each partner felt like their partner was invested in their relationship when they made an effort to understand, said The Independent. This, in turn, upped their relationship satisfaction.
Another recent study, also from the University of California, gives more insight on how you and your partner can argue better. Aside from an effort to understand, use a more positive tone of voice too. The research analyzed recordings from couples’ marriage therapy sessions and found that tone of voice can predict marital success.
“What you say is not the only thing that matters; it’s very important how you say it,” said study co-author Md Nasir. “Our study confirms that it holds for a couple’s relationship as well.”
Sources: Dec. 1, 2015. "Arguing with a partner is beneficial when both feel understood, say psychologists". independent.co.uk Dec. 1, 2015 "How to save your marriage during an argument". deseretnews.com