'My fights with my husband are the best part of my relationship.'

I love it when my husband disagrees with me. He's great at other things too, but our barneys are one of the best parts of our relationship. I don't know many couples who aspire to terse words but our disagreements are genuine and respectful even when heated. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't proud of it.

We argue over big and small things. Fighting fair has taught him how to broach difficult topics and how to accept criticism. It has taught us how to make concessions and admit when we are wrong. We still avoid some issues and slip into patterns of poor communication, we're not perfect. But being imperfect makes arguing even more necessary.

I love our arguments because so much of our public lives are spent agreeing with people and nodding along to keep the peace - most people I come into contact with in real life avoid disagreement like the plague. It's an incredible relief to live with an adult who feels comfortable enough to say what they really think. Moments, where we don't see eye to eye, are something I cling to in a cultural landscape with less and less space or tolerance for healthy disagreement.

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Our arguments are constructive because of a deep sense that we remain firm supporters of each other despite sometimes having a bone to pick. If I felt that to disagree would threaten our relationship I would avoid it at all costs. I also know he wouldn't disagree unless he felt it absolutely necessary. I know there is no motive other than to address a pressing issue.


I like our arguments because they are everything the arguments on social media are not. Face to face, nuanced and considered. Coming from a place of trying to understand another person's point of view and challenge them rather than tearing them down or silencing them. There is no name-calling or personal attacks. Someone who is scathing or abusive online would usually find it incredibly difficult to mount the same vicious attacks in person.

Over time, our tolerance for disagreement has increased, and this means that, in terms developed by psychologist James Mccroskey, we can now discuss differing opinions mostly without feeling personally attacked. It's a skill in diplomacy that can't possibly be improved unless we engage in healthy disagreement or it is modelled to us. When we have a low tolerance for disagreement in wider society, a vicious cycle emerges where we argue less and thereby become even worse at having healthy debates.

I just can't imagine the exhaustion of having to agree with everyone all the time even inside my own home. I can't imagine the frustration of people close to me agreeing uncritically with everything I say and do. Holding each other accountable and having difficult conversations is a crucial way of supporting each other.

Arguing may seem like hard work but it's actually more exhausting to avoid conflict in the long run. Not having an argument can breed resentment for the other person or groups of people and build up ill feelings. My husband and I both usually end up making partial or full concessions based on the information put forward.

Arguing is how we restore harmony and I love him more for it.

Feature Image: Instagram @bush_bambinis.

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