Some couples believe that arguing or fighting is a sign of your love for each other.
Whether that’s true or not, the fact is that disagreements are going to occur during the course of a long-term relationship.
There is a right way to argue, and a wrong way.
Are you fighting right?
Let’s explore five key ways you can argue better and keep your relationship positive through conflicts and differences of opinion.
1. Reframe Your Approach
There’s a difference between arguing and having a conversation about different viewpoints.
There is no need to yell, scream, accuse, or make each other feel bad when you’re in a loving relationship.
If you find that your emotions are escalating and that you’re losing control, acknowledge that quickly. This is your partner; it’s okay to be vulnerable. You can say, “I’m getting upset and struggling to control my feelings. Give me a minute to calm down.”
This creates the space you need.
You can then shift your view from fighting to discussing; there is a difference. Once you know that you’re having a discussion, your whole demeanor will change, making resolution more possible.
2. Take Ownership
Your next shift is from blaming your partner to taking ownership of your feelings. No one can make you feel anything.
When you accuse your partner of doing that, you’re not being responsible for your own feelings and the way you’ve interpreted things. Instead of saying, “You’re making me angry,” say, “I feel angry and hurt when you say things to me in that way.”
Accusations are a way to escalate the conversation to a full-blown fight quickly, but when you say how you feel you turn the conversation in a completely new direction.
3. Be Respectful
In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to fly off the rails and drop insults, but those words can hurt long after the conversation has ended.
Take a deep breath and remember that you love this person sitting across from you. You want to know what he or she is thinking, so respect their opinion and feelings.
If you’re angry enough to really attack your partner, perhaps it’s time for a timeout during which you can breathe, clear your head, and start to look at the issues in a new light.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break during an argument; just be sure that you leave the conversation with positive intentions. If you don’t then you may have lingering anger between the two of you. When you come back, you will be ready to be respectful of your differences.
4. Stop and check
When we’re angry, we stop listening because we “know that already”, we’re so eager to share our own viewpoints, or we even want to shift the blame away from us.
The truth is that sometimes what it sounds like they said isn’t what they actually meant.
If you always assume that your partner is someone who loves you it’s unlikely that they’re looking to intentionally hurt you.
By restating what you’ve heard your partner say and what the pending challenges are, you are much more likely to stick to the issues.
An example is, “When you say it that way, it sounds to me like you’re saying I’m stupid. Is that your intention?”
This gives your partner a chance to understand the impact of their words right away without you having to be defensive.
At the end of the day, you are a couple and you have a partnership you want to respect.
No two people will ever see eye-to-eye on every issue, and hot-button topics of money, children, and sex tend to cause even the nicest people to create conflict. It would be a pretty boring relationship if you agreed on everything anyway.
Look at every conversation, argument, discussion, or even fight as a way to learn more about yourself, your partner, and your relationship.
What do you have in common? How can you work together to create a positive outcome?
If you reframe your approach to your conflict, take ownership of your own thoughts and opinions, remain respectful of your partner’s feelings, and clarify what you’re hearing to ensure you’re on the same page, you’ll be better equipped to find a compromise that works best for you and your family.
Remember, it’s better to lose an argument and win the relationship.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.