3 Arguing Styles in a Relationship And Which One Are You
Did you know that there are different arguing styles? I sure didn’t! But can you imagine that when you find out which one you are, perhaps any fights you are having could lessen, possibly become rare? Or at the very least, become more manageable? In this post, you will find out which interaction style you are, the three different arguing styles that couples may fall under, and even my own story of arguing in my relationship.
What Interaction Style Are You?
First, find out what type of interaction style you are as an individual when it comes to arguing. Are you the protesting type, where you feel the need to always be right, to win the argument, or blame the other person? Or are you a withdrawer, where defending yourself, avoiding the problem or shutting down completely is what you prefer doing? Once you figure out which category you fall under, you may then find out what arguing style you are as a couple.
Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
3 Arguing Interaction Styles
There are 3 types of Arguing Interaction Styles for couples: Protest + Withdraw, Protest + Protest, and Withdraw + Withdraw.
Protest + Withdraw is where one partner likes to protest and argue. They raise their voice, demand that they are right and the other person is wrong. The other withdraws, where they just stand there and take it. They curl into themselves as they listen to their partner yelling. All they want to do is walk away, pretend it ever happened.
Protest + Protest are where both partners are very stubborn. They are firm in their belief that they are the one who is right. Voices are raised and there is lots of criticizing, confronting, and blaming. These types of arguments can go on for hours with no solution in sight. In some cases, the problem is never solved and ignored, with a risk of the same argument striking up again in the future.
Withdraw + Withdraw is where both individuals state their opinion in a more or less civil manner. They are willing to reason with their partner, yet defending their opinion and what they think of the situation. This type of argument does not escalate since these types of people try to smooth things over with as little conflict as possible. Some may want to be accommodating, or use humour as a way to make the situation less intense. Worst case scenario, both partners do not respond once each has stated their side and end up walking away, ignoring the problem.
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Is One Better Than the Other?
Now is one interaction style better than the other? No, not at all. Each has its flaws. However, once you identify individually and as a couple which type of interaction style you are, it will help tremendously as to why arguments end up going a certain way, whether unresolved and ignored, or always filled criticism and yelling. You may then discuss with your partner that when an argument does arise, how it should be best handled. Communication becomes key in this case. Take responsibility for yourself, whether you are a protestor or withdrawer. Discuss how both parties can work on approaching an impending argument in a more civil manner, rather than confronting your spouse or ignoring the problem altogether.
The idea of fighting being a regular occurrence in a marriage, or that it is even healthy, is not always true. If there are constant arguments in your relationship, there needs to be some personal responsibility from both individuals to figure out why. If you are bickering about the same problem or topic, it should be addressed fully. Either a compromise or solution should be met and ended for good. For example, if you are fighting about finances such as overspending, discuss working on a budget or putting yourselves on a limit for the time being. If a solution cannot be found, or one person refuses to make any effort in taking personal responsibility or agreeing to a solution, then perhaps finding a 3rd party or even marital counselling is in order.
Our Interaction Style
My husband and I found out during our engagement that we both fell under the withdraw category. This put us under withdraw + withdraw as our arguing style. As hard as it is to believe, we do not argue. I think in the entire duration of our relationship (going on 4 years now), we had maybe around 3-5 real arguments. However, they weren’t severe in the slightest. We cannot even remember what we were fighting about because none of these fights had any power, life, or energy given to them.
However, we do have the occasional disagreement from time to time. We are human after all. We have our own opinions, and sometimes we need to talk. It’s just the way we approach each other that prevents an argument from even forming.
At the beginning of our relationship, we agreed that if we were ever to fight, we would sit down and discuss it right away. We would voice our thoughts on the situation, listen to each other, and come up with a solution together. No one was allowed to leave the room (unless we both agreed it would be best to think things over). Before we knew it, the discussion would be done and over within minutes, with a solution or compromise in the end. With both of us being the withdrawing type, our arguments were either very minimal or non-existent.
As a relationship blogger, I wondered if it was even possible to say that I do not argue with my husband. Would I come across as saying my marriage is squeaky clean and free of any hardships? I always heard fighting was healthy, as well as going to bed angry from time to time is a good thing! But I would not know if this is true or not since I never experienced it! I asked my husband if it was a good or bad thing that we do not fight as often as people say we should. Were we doing something wrong? I began to doubt our near-perfect streak of no fighting. Maybe one day, I thought, it will suddenly end and we WILL do nothing but fight constantly.
I voiced my doubts to my husband. He said to me, “It’s a great thing, babe. We just have nothing to fight about, and that’s great! And if we do fight, we will figure it out together. That’s what marriage is about. We are the most perfectly imperfect couple.” I felt reassured and my heart swelled at his response. So we may just be a couple who does not fight, and that’s okay and totally normal. And if the time does come where we do, then that’s okay, too.
Every relationship is different. It’s about how you decide to handle the situation and how far you are willing to let the argument escalate. As long as you work together to figure out why you may be fighting constantly, what to do when a fight does break out, and what efforts can be made to make it a rare occurrence is what matters most.