Arguments can be a healthy part of marriage, but they often become painful and damaging to your relationship. When spouses have poor communication and do not show each other respect during an argument, this can lead to a breakdown in the marital relationship.

It is more crucial to be valued and heard during an argument than to win every argument. The way spouses express themselves, their tone of voice and how they carry themselves influence the way their mates feel during and after an argument.

How do you express yourself during an argument? There are four types of communication styles and three are unhealthy, especially when you are arguing. A passive communicator is not confident or assertive, so he does not promptly articulate his concerns and needs. As a result, small annoyances become more serious as they fester. Keeping his displeasure to himself may lead to depression, resentfulness and anxiety. The passive communicator may reach a breaking point and become highly temperamental when expressing his views. He may also mutter, have poor eye contact or poor posture as he argues. Poor communication makes it difficult to be open to a partner’s needs.

An aggressive communicator expresses his needs but often tries to control or threaten when he tells his spouse what he wants. Spouses arguing with an aggressive communicator may feel humiliated. They may also feel that their spouse deprives them of the opportunity to express their own views.

A passive aggressive communicator may appear cooperative but actually engages in activities that can make a dispute worse. Passive aggressive communicators may deny their anger or become sarcastic. Often gestures or facial expressions may be inconsistent with the passive communicator’s words.

If you communicate poorly, your relationship can suffer and deteriorate. As a licensed counselor in the Philadelphia area, I can help you learn effective strategies that will enable you to communicate effectively and assertively with your partner. You can learn how to treat your spouse respectfully, keep your tone of voice calm and focus on the central issue of your argument. You will also practice how to listen to your spouse’s point of view, even if you disagree. The outcomes of your arguments will vary, but positive, assertive communication will lead to a healthier, stronger relationship.