Let’s be honest. Fights happen in every relationship. It’s almost impossible for two people to always be on the same page about everything. And the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone. Being able to hold a different opinion or viewpoint is not only allowed but also healthy in a balanced relationship.
But sometimes when it comes time to express our differences, we can get heated and fight. How can you avoid this negative experience and prevent it from becoming a source of pain and suffering? Here are 12 tips:
Set the Stage
When you want to discuss something with your partner, chances are, you’ve been thinking about the problem for a while. Maybe for a couple hours, a week, or maybe even longer.
So, before you bring it up to him or her, take some time to gather yourself, prepare your argument and most importantly, ask them if they’re able to have a discussion with you.
Remember, you’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this discussion, so it’s only fair that you don’t ambush them. Give them time to prepare, too.
Create the Intention to Find a Solution
If you start an argument with a negative mindset, you’re not looking to create a solution for the problem at hand. If you argue only for the sake of being negative, and if you’re not really interested in improving the situation, you will probably fight, attack and cause more pain than you started with.
So, before you start an argument, ask yourself: Why am I bringing this up? What do I want to gain from this?
Say “I” More Than “You”
Your partner might have done something that upsets you. So, it probably feels very natural to point the finger and say, “You did this”, or “You made me feel this way.” But instead of saying “You” so much, try to say “I”.
This will keep you from blaming, attacking or personally criticizing your partner. It will also keep your partner from becoming too defensive, and he or she can remain more open to what you’re trying to say.
Take Responsibility for Your Emotions
It’s very easy to blame your partner for your emotional upsets. Most of the time, you think that you feel angry, sad, frustrated, annoyed, or irritated because of what they did. But the truth is, you get to choose exactly how you feel in any given situation.
You can just as easily feel peaceful, even when your partner does something hurtful. It’s all up to you. So, before and during an argument, take full responsibility for how you feel.
Disagreements are part of any relationship, and you may not agree or like what your partner says. Nonetheless, do not interrupt him or her. It’s disrespectful, impatient and will only make matters worse.
Do your best to hold your tongue, take deep breaths and give them a fair opportunity. This is how you’d want to be treated when you speak.
Separate Yourself from the Situation
It’s difficult to be objective when you’re emotionally attached to a situation, but strive to separate yourself from what’s happening and look at it from a third person’s perspective.
Try to even look at it from your partner’s perspective. This allows you to see their motives, their point of view, and also their fears and insecurities behind their actions.
Current Issues Only
If you’re upset about something that happened last night, you should only talk about last night. Do not talk about what bothered you from two months or even two years ago. If you have unsettled business from that long ago, set aside time to talk about that.
But when it comes to arguments, keep them focused and streamlined. Otherwise, it’s going to be very difficult to find a peaceful solution to your current issue.
Hold Hands When You Argue
Mimi Ikonn and her husband, Alex Ikonn, suggest that you should always hold hands when you argue. Being physically close and connected with someone is a constant reminder to stay kind, patient and understanding during arguments.
According to Stephanie Sarkis Ph.D, if all else fails, just ditch the clothes and hash it out in your birthday suit. Think about it: it’s a lot harder to get super angry with your partner if you’re both naked.
It can keep things light and quick, too. And you never know, it might lead to some enjoyable, post-argument time together.
It’s Okay to Go to Bed Angry
There’s an old saying, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” When it comes to arguing within relationships, many people believe this to be true. But depending on your argument, it might be better to go to bed, get some sleep and try again tomorrow.
That’s because when arguments escalate, we can lose our objectivity and we can also lose our ability to think rationally, especially when we’re emotionally charged and physically exhausted. There’s nothing wrong in admitting this, and getting some much-needed sleep.
What is Your Motive?
When you begin an argument, are you just trying to peg someone, so that they stay wrong and you stay right? If your motive is to put someone in their place, it’s better not to argue at all.
With this attitude, you’re just assuming a dominant and controlling position, and that rarely leads to healthy progress and mutual solutions.
Instead, go into every argument, not to prove someone wrong, but to find the solution that supports both of you.
Don’t Make Relationship Threats
When we’re upset, it’s easy to say things we don’t mean. Statements like, “I’ll leave you” or “I’ll end this” can fly out of our mouths without our even realizing it. But these are usually empty threats.
Nonetheless, these empty threats can send a powerful message to your partner. What’s the message? That it’s not safe to have important discussions because there’s always a risk of being rejected or abandoned. Instead of threatening to end the relationship, make space for both your partner and his or her mistakes.
You might have the best relationship in the world, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never disagree. You can keep each argument from turning into a fight when you focus on mutual respect, motives and intentions.