Disagreements happen even in the happiest and healthiest relationships. When handled right, arguments can actually help strengthen your relationship. They can push you to express what you really feel and resolve conflicts so that your relationship can reach a new level of understanding.
Here are 4 tips on how to make those times when you do argue as productive as possible. Sticking to the following points will leave you with energy to focus on more enjoyable things¦like make-up sex!
1. Determine what you’re really arguing about in the first place
Let’s face it: most arguments are usually about something other than what you are arguing about. You may think you’re arguing about unwashed dishes and wet towels left on the floor but what this argument may be about is that one of you doesn’t feel respected in the relationship. Sometimes, it’s hard to express these things to your partner. Before you start yelling and swapping insults, take a moment to be honest with yourself about why you are upset in the first place. Don’t expect your partner to be able to read your mind. Tell them exactly how you feel. If you feel like you’re on the receiving end of the argument, remember to listen to your partner and ask them questions to help determine what the true issue is. Only once you identify what is really going on, will you be able to successfully resolve the conflict.
2. Stay on topic
While in the heat of the moment it’s tempting to blurt out that you just can’t stand a certain in-law or how this argument is “exactly” like that other argument you had recently about something else. It may feel at the time that mentioning these things gives you an advantage over your partner. However, these kinds of statements often don’t help you. Instead, they can lead to further misunderstandings and distract you from discussing the main conflict. Take stock of these other things that bother you and save them for a future discussion where you can focus on these issues specifically.
3. Confront the issue not each other
Even though you may feel in your gut that you are “right”, trying to resolve conflict based on who’s right and who’s wrong isn’t constructive. You both want to resolve the disagreement. Attempting to assign blame or calling each other names will only increase the level of anger and prevent you from accomplishing this. Once you’re able to confront the issue you’re arguing about, you can start working together to try and find solutions.
4. Take a deep breath and press “Pause”
Some arguments can be stopped before they even start. Have you had a bad day? Do you feel tired? Stressed? Irritable? Sometimes when you feel this way, the smallest annoyances seem enormous and leave you thirsting for blood. It’s harder to argue productively when you feel like this. Acknowledge to yourself how you’re feeling and what the underlying cause may be. Try saying to your partner I feel stressed because [insert issue here]. Having these kinds of conversations will lead to better communication between both of you.