Sative Magazine Cover

How to handle arguments in a relationship


Magazine cover


Arguments and disagreements, we all have them. No relationship is immune to conflicts; we fight and bump heads even with people we love and respect. I have had arguments with my girlfriend; arguments so silly that we would be in the same space but ignore each other for a few hours because no one will be willing to concede. We would go back and forth, both of us so sure and adamant in our positions. But as always, in our juvenile attempt to prove our point, we lack follow-through and end up missing each other so bad. With just a long hug and an apology, we then only start to point out and see each other's point of view. Our differences in perception lead us to have conflicts.

What is perception? It's how we see and understand what occurs around us and what we decide those events will mean. Our frame of reference is a build-up of two main categories. The way things are (our realities) and the way things should be (our values). We interpret everything we experience through these two ways. We hardly question their accuracy. We assume the way we see things is the way they are or the way they should be. But perception is subjective, and no two people can exactly perceive an event in the same way. Just take a few seconds and carefully look at the image below.

"My wife and my mother-in-law"

What do you see? How would you describe the woman in the picture? This image is known as "my wife and my mother-in-law". It can be perceived either as a young woman or an old lady (seriously, they're both in the picture). It demonstrates clearly and eloquently that two people can see the same thing, disagrees, and yet both be right. It's not a trick or an optical illusion.

Are you now questioning where am I seeing the young woman or the old lady? If you're seeing a young woman - look at the necklace she's wearing. And if you're seeing an old lady, carefully look at her nose. Do you see it now?

There are rarely squabbles over "nothing". The conflicts we have with each other highlight the fundamental contrast in our perceptions. Coming into an argument with such an awareness will improve how you approach conflicts. Instead of figuring out who is wrong, you will be figuring out how to make things work. Calmly discuss points of difference; only then you can see each other's view.

How kind will it be if we could look past our differences and search for the underlying reasons why someone would perceive things the way they do. It will lead to better conflict resolutions.

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@Zina I can totally relate.. I also used to avoid arguments, I couldn’t stand the screaming and shouting. But now I am on this journey.. cheers to our continuous growth


@EverythingRefiloe I love that, arguments are part of any healthy relationship.. and I really like how you articulate how our different backgrounds affect our relationships.. thank you so much.


I’ve learnt to accept that arguments are a part of any healthy relationship because there’s 2 different people, with different backgrounds involved. I think the important thing is remembering that we are fighting for the relationship, not fighting each other. I enjoy your writing.

Everything Refiloe

I enjoyed this. I’m a person who avoids arguments by all costs, and that doesn’t contribute to growth. I’m learning to be more understanding, to be calm and to look at the bigger picture: we’re in the same team and trying to get to a place of harmony

Zina Ngoni

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