Every relationship is different, so there is no guide that can explain exactly how long you should be fighting with your spouse. But there have been studies done throughout the years that show trends in healthy relationships that last verse unhealthy relationships that inevitably end. Here, we are going to compare that research to give you our thoughts and tips on what is and isn’t healthy when fighting with your spouse.
On average, a fight shouldn’t last more than ten minutes. If it does, you should actively try to work towards finding a way to end it where both parties are left feeling okay. Instead of being a full-fledged fight, it should really be a healthy argument where both parties are trying to see the perspective of the other party, but let’s face it, that doesn’t always happen frequently. When couples fight, they are usually trying to “win”, which is unhealthy. If you are approaching the fight with the attitude that you must win, you should stop and change your motives.
If a fight goes on for more than ten minutes, here’s what I suggest doing. Stop and walk away for a few minutes until you are both calm. Then, drop your guards and stop being defensive! It’s easier said than done, but it’s a must to make progress, and both parties need to do this. You should be comfortable suggesting to your partner that you both stop and drop your defensive guard. Relax. Then, try to see things from their perspective. Using phrases such as “I can see why this is hard for you because…” and “I understand” is key. Once you see things from their side, you can find a middle ground between your two points of view.
Now, a lot of arguments go on for about an hour, and that seems normal for most couples. But you should really stop at the ten-minute point to change up what you’re doing. If neither parties are listening after 10 minutes, if you don’t stop and change up the routine, it’s unlikely either party will be listening after an hour. So, again, keep it short and then change tactics. You should be looking at the fight as two partners trying to come together to see eye-to-eye instead of “I must win” or “I must bring them down”.
The countless studies on this showed that the couples who stay together in the long run address their issues quickly and nip it in the bud where couples who do not get over certain issues or allow them to drag on for days (or even longer) tend to get divorced. Having an issue that goes on for days is not good. And bringing up issues from the past is a very bad trait for a relationship- one that shows you haven’t fully addressed these issues. If you find yourself bringing things up from years past, perhaps it’s time to get a marriage counselor involved. If both parties can drop their ego, a certified counselor who can help both parties heal and move forward could really be beneficial.
All in all, fighting with your partner is a normal part of living with and spending all of your time with someone. No one sees eye-to-eye all the time. If you’re frequently fighting, change the way you both view things and try to come at each other with your defenses down. Try to see things from their perspective and yours as often as you can to find middle ground.
If you constantly fight about issues that don’t go away after days, months, or even years, it’s time to get some help from a professional if you’re committed to making your relationship work!
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