Couples fight. No matter how in love you are or how committed, you will bicker, argue, hold grudges, and say nothing’s wrong even when you’re really mad. Fights can be good. They can allow couples to resolve issues and problems; however, letting what irritates you simmer until it boils over in a big argument is never healthy. Likewise, the particulars of what couples fight about are seldom important; rather, how they fight can really put a relationship into perspective.
What’s Your Fighting Style?
The key to determining how your fights reflect on you and your relationship lies in your fighting style.
According to Sheryl P. Kurland, author of Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls of Wisdom from Couples Married 50 Years or More, there are two kinds of arguers: those who externalize and those who internalize. “Individuals who externalize lash out and are very verbal, whereas individuals who internalize withdraw into silent furor,” says Kurland. So essentially, arguments ensue when these fighting types are pitted against one another.
Debbie Mandel, author of Turn On Your Inner Light further breaks down these types of fighting into four categories. See if you can find yourself in one of them:
- The Boxer: If you are a boxer, you’ll take a tit-for-tat approach. Rather than calmly explaining why being called stupid upsets you, you’ll fire back with an equal or worse insult.
- The Smiler: Mandel describes this fighting style as a person who smiles yet “holds a dagger behind the back.” Essentially, the smiler will pretend that everything is OK, yet hold a grudge for a very long time.
- The Stone Waller: This is the passive-aggressive stance many people take during a fight. It’s the “Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine!” said even when there is clearly something wrong. After all, you didn’t used to give short answers to your partner’s questions or purse your lips all the time, did you?
- The Diplomat: This fighter should definitely run for office. She is a regular politician and knows how to smooth over anything, and I do mean anything. Before a diplomat tells you that your latest cooking efforts are better left in the trashcan, he or she will preface the soon-to-be huge disagreement with, “You’re looking lovely today” or, “Have you been working out?”