How Happy Couples Argue

Derek Thompson, whose writing for The Atlantic I always appreciate, has a really good article on How Happy Couples Argue (gift link).

The key isn’t that happy couples fight over the right things. Happy couples fight in the right way. In bad conversations and bad fights, both people in the relationship were trying to control each other. Rather than try to control their partners, happy couples were more likely to focus on controlling themselves. They sat with silence more. They slowed down fights by reflecting before talking. They leaned on I statements rather than assumptive ones. Healthy couples also tried to control the boundaries of the conflict itself. Happy couples, when they fight, usually try to make the fight as small as possible, not let it bleed into other fights.

I’m married to a therapist (20 years this year!), and I can tell you, learning how to argue well is a life-long journey, especially if you’re married to someone who helps people with this kind of stuff for a living. The article does a good job of summarizing the things we’ve learned together over the years.

As a side note, my wife and I have long been wanting to start a podcast, and I kind of want to put it out there as a way to make us actually go through with it, because I think it’s a pretty neat idea. It would be called So You Married A Therapist, and the premise is:

Interviews with therapists and their partners about life and love and learning to live with someone who exists to help people who are not you.

I would personally just love to talk to people from all walks of life who are in similar relationships, but I also think we could all learn a lot from getting insight into those unique relationships. Also, I think it would be really funny.