March 22, 2024 |Gideon Hanekom

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In this article, we look at the key arguments that happy couples avoid or skillfully dodge, resulting in stable relationships and deep connections, unlike unhappy couples, who are frequently caught up in conflict.

Intro

The main message of this article is this: Happy couples understand the importance of maintaining peace and connection in their relationship, so they consciously avoid engaging in particular arguments.

That sounds very counterintuitive or even wrong, as it’s commonly said that happy couples have open communication and talk about everything. However, research suggests that this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Instead of focusing on solving seemingly insurmountable problems, happy couples choose to spend their energy on fixable issues.

They steer clear of arguments that issues that cannot be (readily) resolved, as dwelling on these only potentially breeds resentment and hinders the growth of their relationship.

This coincides with other research that suggested that ‘highly happy couples’ tend not always to tell the truth and never go to bed angry. The opposite is actually true.

They tend to avoid telling the truth at times and will also go to bed angry rather than trying to resolve issues there and then when emotionally loaded.

By prioritizing peace and connection (consciously or unconsciously), they foster a harmonious and supportive environment that allows their relationship to thrive.

Arguments Happy Couples Avoid

Dr. Amy Rauer and her colleagues conducted a fascinating 2019 study titled “What are the Marital Problems of Happy Couples?”

They explored the inner workings of relationship conflict resolution mechanisms, highlighting the strategies that happy couples use to keep the peace in their relationship.

The study’s results suggest that relationship problems can be classified as either easily fixable or seemingly ‘unfixable.

Problems like dividing up household chores and free time are examples of fixable issues.

Unlike unhappy couples, happy couples tend to work together to address these issues and find solutions that make them feel good about themselves and their relationship. Redistributing (dividing them fairly) household chores is one example of a solution that can improve relationships by making them fairer and more fulfilling for both partners.

Problems with physical intimacy and health, on the other hand, are examples of challenges typically avoided by happy couples.

When seeking advice or following common knowledge, we often believe we make the right decision by openly communicating about every issue, including intimacy and health.

However, Dr. Rauer’s research findings challenge this notion, suggesting that there are certain problems where open confrontation might not be the most effective strategy for preserving a happy relationship.

However, this approach does not imply that these couples ignore their problems or live in denial.

Rather, it suggests that happy couples strategically prioritize where the relationship’s overall health is considered above the need to address every issue directly.

Such couples recognize that some conflicts may not have a clear resolution or that the path to resolving them could cause more harm than good.

By choosing their battles wisely, they maintain a sense of peace and unity that helps to fortify their bond.

Because of the potential for discomfort and disagreement, these delicate topics are avoided when possible. Dr. Rauer found that avoiding these subjects helped couples maintain trust in their relationships and prevented problems like dissatisfaction or separation.

Arguments Happy Couples Avoid

Furthermore, this strategy emphasizes another crucial skill for building happy, healthy, and more intimate relationships: the importance of emotional intelligence in relationships.

Following the strategy suggested by Dr Rauer’s research results requires a deep understanding of oneself and one’s partner to discern which issues can be effectively addressed and which should be left untouched for the time being.

In general, emotional intelligence is pivotal in navigating the complexities of relationship dynamics.

This form of intelligence allows individuals to recognize and understand their own emotions and grasp the emotional states of their partners.

Such awareness facilitates empathy and compassion, enabling couples to approach potentially contentious issues with sensitivity and care, even bypassing certain discussions if they deem them beneficial for their relationship’s harmony.

Additionally, the results of this research diverge significantly from traditional advice that often champions open and continuous communication about all concerns as the pathway to a healthy relationship.

Instead, Dr Rauer’s findings suggest that discernment in choosing which issues to address and which to set aside temporarily can be equally, if not more, vital in maintaining relationship satisfaction and longevity.

But it’s crucial to note that this strategy requires a deep level of trust between partners.

It involves mutual understanding and respect for each other’s boundaries and comfort zones without fostering resentment or feeling neglected.

Moreover, this selective engagement with problems necessitates an ongoing dialogue, albeit a non-confrontational one, about each partner’s needs, expectations, and limitations.

Research results

Findings are based on in-depth interviews with 121 couples, split evenly between those in their 30s and those in their 70s.

When asked to rank the most pressing issues in their relationships, these individuals ranked money, hobbies, intimacy, housework, and communication as the top five.

Notably, health was also a top priority for older couples.

Jealousy, religious affiliation, and familial ties were found to be less important, according to the study.

One significant finding from the research suggests that happy couples typically use a realistic approach to fostering relationship happiness by concentrating on fixable problems.

One possible explanation for the continued joy and success of these relationships is the focus on practical solutions.

The results also show that couples who have been together argue less, which may indicate wisdom gained from years of marriage.

In summary

So, what can we take from this?

In summary, this study highlights the importance of approaching relationship conflicts with a solution-focused mindset.

However, that seems to entail identifying which relationship problems to tackle and which ones to avoid because some issues are more ‘fixable’ than others.

Happy couples seem to sustain a supportive and satisfying relationship over time by addressing solvable issues first and skillfully navigating more challenging conversations.

FAQs

Do happy couples argue less than unhappy ones?

Research has shown that the amount of arguments in a relationship is not necessarily linked to its overall happiness.

In fact, happy couples may argue just as much as unhappy ones. Studies have found that it is not the frequency of arguments, but rather how they are handled, that determines the success of a relationship.

Communication and conflict resolution skills are crucial for maintaining a healthy and happy partnership.

Furthermore, happy couples focus on finding solutions rather than winning an argument. This allows them to address and resolve issues effectively, leading to a stronger and more fulfilling relationship.

So, while arguing may be inevitable in any relationship, it is how it is managed that truly matters.

Does having no arguments in a relationship affect the relationship? I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for two months, and we’ve never gotten into an argument. We’re extremely happy and in love.

Research has shown that having no arguments in a relationship can actually be detrimental to its overall health.

While many may believe that a lack of arguments signifies a perfect and harmonious partnership, studies have found that couples who never argue may actually be avoiding important discussions and suppressing their true feelings.

This can lead to built-up resentment and unresolved issues, ultimately causing damage to the relationship.

Couples need to have healthy communication and be able to express their opinions and address conflicts respectfully in order to maintain a strong and lasting bond.

Avoiding arguments may seem like the ideal scenario, but it is crucial for couples to learn how to navigate disagreements in order to foster a healthy and fulfilling relationship.

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as Marriage.com and The Good Men Project.

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