Who left the ******* toilet seat up again? What the **** did you say that for? What the **** time do you call this? We’ve all been there. Couples argue on average once a fortnight and for most people, it’s a part of life. But if you’re the type who keeps silent to avoid any type of conflict, you could be doing yourself more harm than good and a blow out row might be just what you need. Here’s how to do it...

Women who force themselves to stay quiet during ‘marital’ arguments have a higher risk of death, says a study by Dr Elaine D Eaker of Eaker Epidemiology Enterprises in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Eaker and her colleagues found that, over a 10-year period, women who self-silenced were four times more likely to die than women who express themselves freely during rows. 

Having said that other studies have found that women are generally likely to stay vocal and it’s men who are more likely to give the silent treatment. But whoever is refusing to talk, silence means nothing gets resolved. Conflict, if handled correctly, can bring you closer together with your partner because it forces you to become aware of each other’s perspective. What’s important to you may be less important to your lover and vice versa, so arguing allows you to find out more about the person you’re with and their values and view of the world. In short, it allows you to get to know them -and yourself – better.

Here are some tips to help you to make the most of your arguments and ensure a happy outcome:

1 Try not to argue when you’ve got heightened feelings of anger. Say: “I’m not avoiding this issue. I want to sort it out but I’m too angry right now. Can we set a time to talk about it later?”

2 Step into your partner’s shoes and try to figure out how they look at the situation. There are so many ways to look at everything and often many points of view can be ‘right’. Try to be open-minded.

3 Ask yourself if you are clinging on to the need to be right rather than resolve the actual problem. If so, stop it and consider how insisting on being right is going to reward you and weigh it up against what it’s going to cost you.

4 Remind yourself that you love this person and activate your curiosity and think of this as an opportunity to get to know them better.

5 Feeling hurt can manifest itself in angry outbursts. If you feel hurt, your partner probably does, too, even if they’re shouting. Two hurt people can become polarised or come together to comfort each other. It’s your choice.

6 If you feel defensive and want to attack to defend yourself, stop and think. Try not defending yourself just once and see how different the outcome is to arguments where you do act all defenisve.

7 Listen and make sure your partner knows they are understood. Feeling understood is the biggest indicator of a successful relationship, no matter how frequent the arguments.

Following these tips could mean your relationship stays happy in the long-term and if Dr Elaine D Eaker is right, it could also save your life!