When we think of quarrelling we all get a negative feeling about it however constructive quarrels exist if we do it on an appropriate way. In fact they are necessary for balanced relationships. “If the sun always shine, everything get burned” – Arab proverb.
Of course in the beginning of the relationship everyone is against the thought of argument but sooner or later disagreements or difference of opinions appear and if we don’t learn to dispute smartly at the end quarrel ends up with bawling or with a disability of expressing or addressing problems.
How is a non-constructive quarrel going?
First of all people use and say “you always”, “you never” or “you constantly”. Second, using qualificative sentences like “Of course you have not done it because you are lazy, you are unreliable, you are stupid…etc.” Third, after a while just keep repeating the same and not even hear what the partner is saying because not communicating with each other. Fourth, the quarrel finishes with slamming doors or sleeping on sofa instead of mutual understanding and concession.
The other example of wrong quarrel culture is the conflict avoidance which is expressed in passive-aggressive behaviour or play. Even though the parties try to pretend there is no problem, the conflict is significant and exist, without letting get into the surface it works inside and no way to solve it without talking or addressing. This kind of “problem management” is the worst because even if we believe with covering up we can save our relationship, it happens just in a short term, in a long term this kind of “solution” just makes damages. In the past we could hear a lot of wise and old advises like “You must learn to be silent and endure with patience to have a good relationship”. This is the silent killer of a relationship. If two people love each other and accept the fact they are different individuals with different way of thinking should be unambiguous they don’t agree all the time and there are things what they like to be done on a different way. I don’t say that everyone should address every small issues but should feel the freedom to do with important problem without fears.
To have a constructive quarrel we need to have some primary conditions which are: mutual respect towards each other, acceptance of difference, being focus on the status quo which is we are in a relationship and equality.
In a constructive quarrel we don’t qualify the partner, we don’t use generalizations and we strive for understanding and concession.
Of course to keep eye on all them is difficult but learnable.
There are physical terms also, we need some soberness because if we are on the edge we are not able to think before say it and not able to listen to the partner objectively. Very important also timing. We should not address any serious problems to our partner when we see she/he is very tired or hungry, we should look for optimal circumstances when our partner probably will be a more understandable listener.
Very important in the mutual understanding that how we address our messages. Instead of expressing how our partner is, better to highlight how we feel about it or his/her behaviour. With using an unfair generalization we can trigger an immediate protection or indignation but with expressing our emotions we might open a gate. Using “self-messages” like “I feel like…” or “It makes me feel….” are bricks of constructive quarrel because they are not aggressive.
Also very important to make the situation clear, so many times happen it was just a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of something without any harmful intent behind.
If we learn how to manage a constructive quarrel at the end we feel both of us stood up for own thoughts and emotions, we understood each other, there is no negative feeling left and the status quo still remains. Nevertheless we solved the problem.
In a good relationship the aim is not to not have quarrels but the relationship is improving and growing through them.
If you see there are similar patterns repeatedly are coming back in a quarrel, contact me and learn how to quarrel on a constructive and effective way.