All couples argue - some more than others but often about similar things, for example who does what around the home; who gets to make most of the decisions; how to best bring up the children; spending too much time at work.
When things are going well for us we are less likely to argue and find ways of sorting out our problems through humour, negotiation, or just by giving in gracefully. But what about when things aren't going so well?
When things around us are more difficult we often start to feel unhappy in our relationship and then arguments occur. We start to respond to our partner in ways that make things worse rather than better. More harsh words and fewer kind ones; we start 'giving as good as we get'.
Consequently we get locked into patterns of behaviour and often start thinking the worst of our partner. Often we know what we are doing isn't helping things but it becomes a habit that's hard to break.
Many disagreements (in fact most of them), cannot be resolved, so compromising is often the best way forward.
Research has found that it is the way you express your feelings that is important.
Couples who manage to avoid saying every critical thought that comes into their head (and who can bring up problems gently) are consistantly the happiest.
When there are potential disagreements, you're more likely to see eye to eye if you bite your lip and don't go on the attack.
At the other end of the scale, people who are anxious and bottle up their feelings don't resolve their difficulties, and can end up feeling resentful - and the 'last straw' leads them to explode in the end anyway.
Couples who are good communicators are often good at managing their differences. After all, arguing is a form of communication. Rows are often just symptoms that we feel our partner isn't supporting us, that they're not 'there for us'.