Any one who’s been in a relationship longer than five minutes knows that you will inevitably have an argument at some point. I mean of course you will because you are expecting two people to come together and share their lives together, two people who come from completely different backgrounds, have different relationship role models and have different personalities, it’s a wonder any relationships make it at all!
Yes, you’re going to fight, but how are you doing it, and is your style of fighting a help or hindrance in your relationship. Here’s a few things to think about before that little petty, nagging argument turns into WW3.
Agree that fighting is normal and a sign of a healthy relationship. If you didn’t fight it meant that you didn’t care enough about your relationship, and it’s completely normal to disagree, but it’s how you argue that’s going to make or break your bond.
Don’t go for the low blow. Don’t resort to name calling or playing on your partners insecurities, it’s not cool, and it’s not really going to do anything in helping you resolve the issue your arguing about. This is the person that you love, do you really want to hurt them like that?
Be honest. Don’t say what you think your partner wants to hear, instead of what you actually think.
Don’t read your partners mind. You don’t always know what’s going on in the other person’s head, and it can be a dangerous game to assume.
Take responsibility for your own part. Successful partnerships require both partners to take ownership of their own stuff, their mistakes, assumptions, and not blame everything on the other person. As the saying goes “It takes two to tango!”
Don’t run from the fight. It’s definitely easy to walk away from a fight, and bury your head in the sand and pretend that everything’s hunky dory but … it won’t go away, it will continue to show up in your relationship over and over again, until you deal with it.
Don’t fight when you are hungry (hangry) or tired or distracted. These three scenarios are the perfect storm for a fight to escalate to the next level, and sometimes the very reason that could be arguing in the first place is that you are hangry, tired or distracted.
Acknowledge the other’s feelings and point of view. Just because you acknowledge the other’s feelings, doesn’t mean that you are agreeing with them. All anyone wants in an argument is to know that what they are saying and feeling is being heard by the other person.
Fight about one thing at a time. It’s so easy to go from fighting about spending money to move on to why the other person is never home, to how they don’t pull their weight around the house to how they always leave the toilet seat up. You need to stay on track and if you go off on a tangent then rein it in back to the original issue you started with.
Don’t text fight. Or email or DM or any of today’s modern ways of communicating. Texting is possibly the easiest way in the world to misconstrue the meaning behind a message, because there are no facial expressions, or tone of voice to help frame a message. Keep it to face to face or phone.
Take turns talking, and let the person finish what they want to say before you start talking. Listening with out interrupting or mentally thinking about your response is one of the hardest skills to master, but one of the most important. Each person needs to have the opportunity to state their case.
Ultimately you need to remember that it’s completely normal and even healthy to argue, it means that you are passionate about your relationship, and feel safe and secure enough to share how you feel with your partner. One thing that sticks in my mind is the thought that in the big picture we are a team, and that we both need to feel happy, fulfilled and content with our relationship.