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Alexander has been contributing for THS for over a year! While he attained a major in communications at SFU, he also recieved a minor in Psychology. Despite those accomplishments, Alex has also never had a full cup of coffee (crazy right?!). Alex is a lifelong sports fan and will defend his Seattle Seahawks to the death, especially if faced against a 49er fan. While Alex's long-term goal is to become a marriage counsellor, he also has a strong passion towards writing that he looks forward to exploring.

Disagreements Versus Fighting: The Importance of Respecting Your Partner

Photo Credit: Getty Images/ThinkStock

Photo Credit: Getty Images/ThinkStock

Growing up, I used to believe that my parents never got into fights. They have always treated each other with nothing but respect, and it made relationships seem like a walk in the park. I’ve learned a thing or two since then, and am aware of the real work that goes into any successful partnership. I realize that even if it never seems like a couple fights, it does not mean they do not disagree.

My parents are successful because they put the work in, and if you find the right partner, there should be nothing deterring you from trying. When partners disagree, the right relationships put in more work, because they are aware of what goes into a proper relationship. The proper relationship is built off of the love and respect that their partner deserves. This love and respect can not disappear on days in which you and your partner are disagreeing, but instead must manifest itself throughout your discussions (good and bad) as you grow as a team.

You are not dating yourself, and as a result, there will be days when you and your partner may not communicate as well as you’d hoped. While you and your partner may engage in these discussions, it does not mean that you should ever begin to fight with your partner. A fight, is never healthy and can be incredibly damaging, whereas disagreements can lead to positive changes for your relationship. It is important to outline the difference between a fight and a disagreement, as well as identify key techniques that have been shown to work to keep your disagreements healthy. You cannot be afraid to come to your partner with big issues because it may cause a fight. Use those moments of toughness where you may disagree, to learn how you can work together with your partner. In the process, you can come to realize that big topics or disagreements are not fights, but instead an opportunity to grow and communicate with your partner.

It is important when looking at disagreements with your partner, and trying to identify when it becomes a fight. There are always going to be different levels of disagreements and these can be healthy. The inability to decide on what movie to watch may be a disagreement that gets solved quickly, but things like infidelity may be a whole other angle. Regardless of why you are disagreeing, the level of respect you show your partner should not decrease. When you stop respecting your partner, it becomes a fight much quicker than a calm disagreement. It is easier for some relationships to become petty during a disagreement. When you name call, or raise your voice you may often find that you are not dealing with the topic at hand and it can be easy to lose focus on the problem solving necessary to move on. If fighting becomes more prominent, it can be a sign of the disrespect that truly hammers home the divide between the two of you. No situation should be bigger than the level of respect you have for your partner.

Photo Credit: Syifaun Niam

Photo Credit: Syifaun Niam

Disagreements are not “you versus me,” even though it may feel that way when you and your partner do not share the same point of view. During a disagreement it can feel like the relationship is a battleground that you are both trying to win. One of the keys to a successful relationship is the realization that it is not like a battleground. Instead, success is achieved through teamwork and not by “winning” fights individually. It is only through coming to a resolution as a team that you and your partner will be able to put that argument behind you. Instead of looking at the disagreement as a battle for your relationship look at it as a test. Whoever is right or wrong, should not matter more than coming to a solution as a team. By avoiding making it a “you versus me” battle, you are also avoiding the feeling like only one of you will be happy with the outcome. Nobody wins a disagreement if it does not leave both of the partners feeling stronger and respected.

If you do find yourself having a disagreement with your partner there are certain tools you can utilize to remain healthy. One such tool is the importance of “I” statements as opposed to “you” statements. “I” statements are utilized when you are talking to your partner and you are stating how you feel. Instead of assigning blame to your partner “I” statements put the attention back on yourself and focus on your own emotions. If instead you use statements such as “you always do this! You are always the problem,” it can cause your partner to feel attacked and defensive. When properly implemented, “I” statements also involve a lot of reflection on your partners words. By listening to your partners talk, thinking about it, and stating how it makes you (I) feel, you are building a healthy habit.

For certain individuals they may find they need some space to properly think about the topic at hand. Give space when your partner needs it, but realize the importance of resolving your issues. Not everyone is able to break down every disagreement and have a rational conversation in the heat of the moment. Disagreements can be overwhelming and sometimes taking some time to clear your head can be the best resolution. As a partner, you need to do your best to respect your partner when they request this. It might not be easy, personally I prefer solving things then and there, but by pushing them into having a conversation they are not ready for: it is only going to escalate the situation. Give each other space but also remember what it is you are disagreeing about. Some relationships may cool off and then never go back to why they were upset. This may make everyday life easier for the next little while, but there was no resolution to the prior issue. As a result, there is no positive building block to go off of the next time there is a miscommunication, or may result in a longer, louder fight when the unresolved issue resurfaces. Resolve your situation as a team, be aware that you have, and use those skills to go forward. Ignoring a problem is never going to make it go away, only go dormant.

Relationships are never going to be “perfect.” Sometimes you have late nights; sometimes those late nights are followed by early mornings with little coffee, but how you disagree with your partner can be one of the most telling signs to how you treat each other. It is easy to love your partner on easy days, but we do not always have easy days. And on the days that are tough, be grateful that you have a partner that does not make you feel like this all the time. Take the moment to realize that disagreements happen to everyone, but that you and your partner can use this as an opportunity to grow. Communicate effectively and calmly, remembering that the disagreement is neither partner’s fault, but it is on both of you if it turns into a fight. Put love into every day, and put an extra hug in on days that are hard. But remember always to respect your partner, and through that, you will always come through as a team.

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3 Comments on “Disagreements Versus Fighting: The Importance of Respecting Your Partner”

  1. Mansi July 11, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    Well written and quite true!


  1. The Warning Signs Of Manipulation | The Hudsucker - July 23, 2015

    […] respect must always be at the forefront. There is a difference between fighting and disagreeing, a topic I covered recently, but abusive relationships rarely have healthy communication. Relationships that are […]

  2. Guest Writer, Jenna Guerin: What to Do When You Have Your First Post-Wedding Fight | The Hudsucker - February 19, 2016

    […] miscommunication. And they seem insignificant until you suddenly find yourself in your first real fight as a married […]

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