Every couple argues occasionally. In fact, in some cases it's more of a problem if you don't fight than if you do. It's healthy to be able to feel comfortable letting your spouse know you disagree with them. It shows you two have strong communication skills and a strong enough relationship that you aren't afraid of what a little disagreement might do.
However, there is a line to be drawn between healthy and unhealthy arguments. You've crossed the line into "unhealthy" when disagreements turns into a fight.
Here are six signs those arguments you're having with your spouse aren't healthy:
1. You put each other down
As soon as name-calling starts, you've entered dangerous territory. Everyone says things that they don't mean sometimes, but if this is a regular habit, it needs to stop. Marriage should be an equal partnership in which both husband and wife have agreed on the roles they will uphold and carry out. Each partner should recognize, appreciate and love all that the other person does and not resort to name-calling.
2. One yells while the other is quiet
Yelling shouldn't be part of any healthy argument, but it's especially dangerous if only one person is doing all the yelling. It means they're assuming the dominant personality in the relationship, and the other person is submitting. If you find yourself yelling at your spouse while they're quieter, it means your spouse is afraid. Be more patient and understanding as you two work through your differences. Even if the reason they're quiet is because they've made a mistake, there is no room for yelling in your marriage.
3. You argue in front of others
The worst is when you argue in front of your children, but it is also awkward when you argue in front of other people. Even starting an argument even while others are around shows you don't respect your spouse enough to talk it through privately. If they've said something that you disagree with, wait until you two are alone to address it.
4. You make threats
Whether it's threatening divorce or just making your spouse sleep on the couch for the night, you shouldn't make threats during an argument. Not only does it challenge the idea of equal partnership in your marriage, it makes your partner afraid to talk to you. If they can't feel comfortable talking to you without feeling threatened, eventually, your relationship will fall apart.
I have an old friend who once gave me the best marriage advice: Never go to bed angry. When you two have a disagreement or someone is upset, talk it through and at least get it cleared up before going to bed. Allowing arguments to stretch longer than necessary makes it easier to hold grudges, which makes your relationship tense and uncomfortable.
6. It's the same argument over and over again
If you're unable to argue and have that be the end of it, there might be a problem. There's something wrong if you can't ever reach some sort of agreement or compromise. A recurring problem means serious issues aren't being resolved and that same problem is causing repetitive damage to your marriage.
If you think the arguments you have with your spouse are unhealthy, don't be afraid to bring it up with your partner or a therapist. As long as you work together, you can come out of this stronger than ever before.
Emily Brady is a member of the FamilyShare content team. She studied Communication with an emphasis in journalism. She loves photography and finding a good book to read in her hammock on a sunny, breezy day.