I've been in relationships in the past where I was never argued with. I was never challenged to think or to grow.
My thoughts were just accepted, but hardly acknowledged. To me, that is the kiss of death in love. I yearn to be argued with. Of course, I don't want to be in constant fight mode; the comfort of being on the same page with your lover is why you fall for someone in the first place.
Common ground is good, but it's not everything. Being able to be challenged by a partner is something that lets me know we're on the right track. When we can stand together, disagree and then learn from the other person's point of view, I feel rock solid in my relationship.
That being said, I am currently in the beginning months of a new relationship. Fighting is something that is rare for us, but we are both extremely passionate people. Between the two of us, opinions are never in short supply.
One of the things that bonds us is our core values. Politically, we agree on almost all of the same things. The most important ones, anyway. We have our differences, and when those differences come up, usually they are minor enough that they get discussed, and then let go.
However, with our country's current situation involving the presidential election, it's a hot button issue in our home. We have radically different views on how we plan to vote and what makes the most sense when November hits.
We are both horrified when we think about the current state of our election. My candidate is gone, and his has a small chance of actually being a contender. Those are the facts.
Our two-party political system has failed us and our country as a whole, and that bothers us both tremendously. Where we disagree in this situation, is when we discuss what the next step should be. As someone who is disgusted with the political record of Hilary Clinton, but even more disgusted with the human that is Donald Trump, this leaves me to of course consider voting for a third-party candidate. But at this stage in our election, will that vote really matter?
My boyfriend, equally repulsed by the two primary candidates, can only see merit in voting for someone he truly believes in, who happens to be a third-party candidate.
He believes it to be inauthentic to vote for a candidate who would do nothing but uphold the status quo or worse. In many ways, I agree with him. But when it comes down to who I believe I need to vote for come November, I can't be on the same page as him.
You know what? That is OK. We get to disagree.
We are allowed to be two different people with two separate minds -- that's what makes our relationship a great one. Our ability to disagree about topics and then grow from the argument makes me feel like I have a partner rather than just a boyfriend. That, is f*cking huge.
My marriage fell apart because I wasn't honest with myself about the importance of arguing. I thought that because we never fought, we had to be the perfect couple. That concept, is bullsh*t. Not discussing things with a partner is a sign of indifference, not strength.
In no way am I advocating that you and your partner should be at each other's throats at all times, that's insanity. Please, for the love of god, do not stay with someone who makes you want to fight them about everything. But I do believe in a healthy amount of confrontation done in an equally healthy way.
Relationships are not a competition. After an argument, no one should feel the need to retreat to their corner and lick their wounds. You have not won a battle because you have won an argument; there should be no winner. You are growing together by challenging the other person's thoughts, not trying to win a game. Love is not a game.
Attacks need to stay out of your fight and out of the relationship, period. If you are being attacked during an argument, your partner is not fighting fair. The conversation needs to pause and you both need to cool down. Explain that you are feeling hurt by them, and then continue forward knowing that your relationship has no place for insults, name calling or abuse. That is poison and it will kill your relationship.
Remember to listen to your partner. Shut your mouth, empty your mind of what you want to say next, and take in their thoughts. By nature, humans want to be right, and they want to be heard.
Growth happens in the moments where you are changing together.
By only trying to make your points seem valid, you are missing the opportunity to grow. In turn, you are not allowing your partner to fulfill their need to be heard. By squashing that need, resentment will build.
Your partner will begin to feel like their thoughts and ideas are unimportant to you. If that is true, then by all means, keep that shit right up. If you truly do care about your partner, you will understand that their ideas make them the person you love.
You want to know what they are thinking because you want to know all of them. Growth happens in the moments where you are changing together.
Arguments about things that excite you, make your heart race or make your blood boil, are the moments that I cherish with my boyfriend. I get to hear his thoughts and he gets to hear mine.
Though we might not always agree with each other, we always hear each other.
We don't shut each other down, we speak up when we feel hurt and we find growth in the places that scare us. Arguments aren't always comfortable, they are scary because you are challenging your lovers thoughts. That's heavy shit. But those are the moments that make relationships worth having.