Every couple argues. If they don’t, there’s something wrong. Two people in a loving relationship should feel safe enough to disagree and sometimes do so strongly enough to have an argument rather than a discussion. It’s simply human nature to feel passionately about certain subjects and to let this show.
Passionate Problem Solving
What are good things to argue about; worthwhile things? When children are involved, topics about schooling or discipline could become problematic. If one member of the partnership has an affair or spends a large sum of money without asking the other, that could lead to a heated disagreement. Many couples testify that, after a heated discussion about anything important, their emotions are running high. They are at extremes, so making up or resolving the argument is equally emotional, even passionate in a very different sense.
Passion for Pettiness
That’s not the case when two people bicker about petty stuff. Bickering is a far better word for what these two people are doing; arguments seem fairly reserved for important issues. It’s hard to be in a long-term relationship and not descend into this kind of squabbling at some point. On a good day petty problems dissolve into giggles and laughter. Couples don’t hurt each other’s feelings but they come to a positive conclusion in the end. When pettiness takes over their discussions and becomes more frequent, the silliness can actually ruin a relationship, pushing two people apart.
What sorts of things could qualify as “petty?” Good examples include issues of tidiness. One person is very tidy; the other is laid back or even messy to the other extreme. Instead of laying down some respectful expectations at some point, the tidy person holds in her annoyance until it bursts out one day, to the shock of her partner who did not read the signs ahead of time. Men don’t tend to read passive aggressive signals and women wonder why their men are not more sensitive. Shouldn’t they just “know” what’s up? No, ladies; they don’t know unless you tell them.
A husband or boyfriend can be guilty of pettiness too. He might pick a fight about the same things from the other side, complaining she’s too mean; he shouldn’t have to be so tidy. He might take her position over something else like tools or his car, telling her she leaves too many fingerprints on his amazing Mazda.
Fixing Is the Trick
Pettiness can soon turn into resentment or bullying and those are bigger problems to fix. If a couple really wants to save their relationship, they have to get started right away by naming the pettiness and resolving to be direct but also to decide if a petty squabble is the sign of something bigger that isn’t so easy to resolve.