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Building and maintaining a healthy relationship can be challenging. No matter how much you care about your partner, there will be times when disagreements happen, they’re getting under your skin, or you might not have the most patience.
And in those times, it’s easy for a small disagreement to turn into a fully-fledged fight if you let it.
Before we get to the tips on avoiding arguments in your relationship, we want to clarify some language about standard advice for this particular problem.
Disagreeing, Arguing, And Fighting
Some people will boast about never having an argument in their relationship. That seems unlikely until you consider how some people view arguing. A disagreement isn’t an argument.
One partner may express their unhappiness with something in the relationship. The partners discuss the problem, come to some resolution, and then move on.
Though that is not necessarily an argument, it’s still addressing a process that these words represent. There’s a problem, a conflict, and a resolution.
An argument isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Tension can build, and emotions can run high. No human being is going to have absolutely perfect control over their temper all of the time. It’s just not a reasonable expectation.
What matters most is respect. You can passionately argue, debate, and conflict with other people and still maintain the respect that acknowledges how much you value the other person.
Arguing and fighting aren’t dirty words that absolutely must be totally avoided, or else the relationship isn’t healthy.
Respect is far more important. In fact, it’s the most important part of the disagreement, so let’s start there.
1. Avoid escalation by respectfully disagreeing.
A fight doesn’t usually come out of nowhere for absolutely no reason. Many arguments will start because some issue sparked the discussion that is now escalating into a fight.
There are different ways you can avoid throwing fuel on the fire.
Try to avoid accusatory language unless necessary. “You always do this! What’s wrong with you?”
Avoid personal attacks and name-calling. “That is such a stupid thing to say. Idiot.”
Don’t fire off these kinds of words, and don’t allow your partner to speak to you with disrespect. Anger is okay. Rage is not.
Respectful disagreement sounds more like, “I see things very differently to you,” or, “I get that your preference is for X, but that’s not something I can get on board with. How about we try Y instead?”
If there is something to criticize, do it constructively by asking if your partner might do something differently in future, rather than just saying how much you dislike something they do. But be willing to hear them out if they offer reasons why your criticism is unnecessary.
When it comes to expressing opinions, remember that they are just that: opinions. There is not always a right and wrong and different opinions can both be valid in there own ways. So don’t interpret your partner’s differing opinion as an attack on yours.
2. Address problems as soon as they arise.
Don’t let problems fester after you are made aware of them. This builds resentment and provides the fuel that can combust into a major argument.
You may not think the problem a big deal, but if it irritates your partner, it’s going to grow into something larger and more difficult to manage later on if left unaddressed.
A problem left unresolved becomes a festering wound of, “They don’t think my feelings matter.”
A typical example is splitting of the household chores. Many couples struggle with finding the right balance, so someone doesn’t feel like they are doing all or a majority of the work. That’s an issue that can quickly destroy a relationship if it goes on for too long.
3. Adopt a monthly and yearly relationship check-in.
Communication is an essential part of making any relationship work. But life is busy. There are so many things that need to be done, and you may not have enough hours in the day. That’s why a scheduled check-in can help keep your relationship healthy and moving forward.
Pick one day every month to discuss how the past month went and what you want to see out of the coming month. Take the time to air out any grievances or problems that may have fallen by the wayside while living your life.
At the end of each year, take one day to reflect on the past year and discuss changes or goals for the coming year. You can even make it something fun or romantic. Spend a weekend together at a hotel in a nearby city to have some focused, quality time together.
Make this an intentional act of understanding and communication. It will bring you closer together.
4. Do not address disagreements via text or instant messenger.
It may be tempting to bring up the things that really bother you and try to discuss them while messaging – don’t do it!
Try to have all of these discussions face-to-face. Phone and video calls can be okay, but messaging is terrible because it limits your communication.
We communicate in several ways when talking. There’s our body language, facial expression, and tone of voice that all help accurately convey our emotions to the person we’re talking to. You lose all of that when you are communicating by messenger.
Not only that, but it takes so much more time to get through the discussion! A ten-minute phone call can easily equal two hours of texting.
You have to sit and stew in all of those negative emotions for the two hours you’re talking about it, assuming the best case scenario where everything is clearly communicated. If it’s not, then you get to deal with whatever was miscommunicated thanks to missing important context.
That can ruin your whole day instead of just having a quick conversation and getting it over with.
Never argue via text.
5. Don’t compete with your partner in discussion.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. Your partner accuses you of doing a thing, which may or may not be a valid complaint, you get angry and fire back with your own accusation.
And where does it go from there? Nowhere good.
Once you’ve crossed that threshold, it’s just anger and finger-pointing driving the conversation, which isn’t likely to lead anywhere useful.
Redirect this energy by acknowledging the complaint. You can say something like, “Alright. What about this thing bothers you?” And now you’re having an actual discussion about the problem.
Encouraging them to talk about it and rationalize it out by communicating with you allows them to air their legitimate grievance or realize that they might be wrong.
That doesn’t mean that you have to accept blame, particularly if you disagree with their assessment. Instead, you’ll get that channel of communication open and hopefully have a productive conversation.
6. Try whispering it out.
Emotions run hot, a passionate conversation starts boiling over, next thing you know, you find yourself yelling. But you don’t want to yell. Yelling immediately puts people on the defensive and may even be toeing the line into abusiveness.
Instead of talking it out, try whispering it out. Sit down with your partner, hold hands, so you have a physical connection with each other, and discuss the problem with whispers.
Whispering forces the person to be mindful and grounded in the moment, paying attention to their tone to maintain the whisper.
It’s much harder to let a whisper run away from you than regular talking, particularly if you’re a person who grew up in a family where loud was the default setting.
7. It’s you, as partners, against the world.
The idea is to replace the competitive mindset with one of cooperation. It’s not you versus your partner; it’s you and your partner versus the world.
It’s the two of you against a problem that needs to be solved for the relationship’s health and your individual happiness.
It’s so much easier to avoid arguments and anger altogether if you adopt a problem-solving approach.
It’s not something to get angry about; it’s just a problem that needs a solution. Why not find the solution together because you care about your partner and want the relationship to be happy and healthy?
There’s not much reason to argue if you’re both on the same side, working toward the same goal. After all, you’re partners, and you should both want what’s best for the relationship’s health.
Still not sure what to do about the arguments in your relationship? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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- How To Deal With Resentment In Your Relationship: 12 No Nonsense Tips
- 7 Ways To Control And Deal With Anger In Relationships
- 7 Ways To Stop Being Controlling In A Relationship
- How To Overcome Your Fear Of Confrontation And Deal With Conflict