How arguing can be good for your marriage

Arguing may not be such a bad thing.

In fact, a new survey that found finds couples who engage in healthy conflict are 10 times more likely to have a happy relationship than those who ignore difficult conversations.

The survey of about 800 people, which was performed by VitalSmarts on behalf of David Maxfield and Joseph Grenny, co-authors of The New York Times bestseller “Crucial Conversations” found that the three most difficult topics for couples to discuss are sex, finances and irritating habits.

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Other highlights of the survey include

— Four out of five say poor communication played a role in their last failed relationship and half cite poor communication as a significant cause of the failed relationship.

— Fewer than one in five believe they are usually to blame when a conversation goes poorly.

— Those who blame their partner for poor communication are more likely to be dissatisfied with the relationship.

While many see arguments as something to avoid at all costs, and others may use arguments as an opportunity to win a debate, arguing — when done right — can be a productive way to work through and resolve conflicts.

David Maxfield and Joseph Grenny offer the following five tips to effectively argue with your significant other:

1. Manage your thoughts. Soften your judgments by asking yourself why a reasonable, rational, and decent person would do what your significant other is doing.

2. Affirm before you complain. Don’t start by diving into the issue. Establish emotional safety by letting your significant other know you respect and care about him or her.

3. Start with the facts. When you begin discussing the issue, strip out accusatory, judgmental, and inflammatory language.

4. Be tentative but honest. Having laid out the facts, tell your significant other why you’re concerned. But don’t do it as an accusation, share it as an opinion.

5. Invite dialogue. After sharing your concerns, encourage your significant other to share his or hers—even if he or she disagrees with you. If you are open to hearing your significant other’s point of view, he or she will be more open to yours.

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