The Secret to Settling Arguments in Relationships
I have a few rules to diffuse and prevent disagreements. My husband and I rarely argue. Over the years, we have gained more respect for each other and our boundaries when expressing our issues.
It took six years of practice yet I believe we’ve cracked the code through trial and error.
Here are a few practices we keep to settle arguments:
- Neither of us raises our voices at each other.
- If you feel like you will, take a breather and come back to the discussion later.
- Eliminate cursing at each other
- We speak to each other with respect.
- We wait to discuss things privately.
- Certain things don’t need to be discussed in front of the general public, friends, or family.
- Our friends don’t know when we are upset with each other.
- We don’t act out or belittle each other in front of our friends. This doesn’t exclude us from asking our trusted friends for advice. We just don’t argue in public or in front of people we know.
- The goal is for the problem to be solved
- At some point, the issue has to end. We don’t let the problem stay ongoing.
- We do not ever keep records of wins or losses.
- We apologize and laugh it off.
Practicing Settling Arguments Respectfully
Eventually, disagreements are going to happen between two people. It’s inevitable. But conflicts do not have to turn into disputes that become disrespectful. You both have to agree to have more respectful conversations and practice it.
Once you have both agreed on having better discussions for the sake of your relationship you can go over what rules you want to have discussions by and agree on those rules like the ones I listed above.
You both should now be able to talk about anything without getting defensive. If you’re both okay with constructive criticism and have an understanding that you both love each other then you can have any kind of conversation.
It’s Too Late My Partner and I are in the Middle of a Big Argument
But what if it’s too late and my partner is mad at me?
It’s vital to keep the peace within your relationships for your mental health. On your end, you must look at arguments from 3 perspectives. Yours, Theirs, and the overall argument itself.
Your Perspective on the Argument in Your Relationship
Ask yourself, are you currently arguing with your partner and feel offended? Are you not entirely sure what the other party is getting at? Do you not agree with their opinion, idea, or stance and it has dumbfounded you?
Dig deeper for the sake of the relationship and ask yourself why are you truly upset and offended.
Before you pick a fight you must get yourself out of your shoes and attempt to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
I know we’ve all heard that before but it’s true.
If you’re visibly upset, could it be that their opinion is true? It could also be that you’re not mature enough to handle criticism or that their idea or opinion may make you uncomfortable.
Whatever the case, check yourself first. For the sake of the relationship, apologize and listen. Change your mind and try to be better.
Think About Their Perspective in the Argument
Remember, the other person has no idea why you’re upset. Assuming that they do know why you are is the biggest mistake you can make. You must explain your position to them as if they have no idea why you have your opinion.
I have made so many arguments much worse and more confusing than they needed to be because I expected my husband to already know why I was mad or why my opinion was ‘better’.
Back then, I use to believe he knew what the actual problem was (and to me the problem was him). This assumption led our arguments to escalate more than they needed to be.
Consider that your spouse may not be in the right mindset to discuss a serious topic. Did you ask them if they were okay talking about a matter that is important to you at this very moment?
Sometimes we can get caught up in our heads and forget to consider that the other person had a whole day of failures and victories where their head is still at.
The Whole Argument’s Perspective
Clear your mind and put your emotions away and look at the argument. Disagreements can happen over many scenarios in life. From deciding what cabinets to put in your kitchen to picking the name of your developing baby. All of these issues should be discussed without so much drama. The talks should be healthy.
Before I bring up any topic I always consider the following:
- Is it an emergency? Do we have to talk about this now?
- Where do I bring up this sensitive topic?
- Am I calm enough to discuss this topic?
- Is this topic worth bringing up in this moment of our lives?
- is this something that was already discussed and forgiven?
On this scale, is it worth arguing about? Is it even worth bringing up? I found myself bringing up past fights because I never actually let them go. I didn’t forgive these problems and their solutions.
Avoid Keeping Score in Your Relationship
Keeping a score is a bad habit. Losing an argument was not acceptable to me. I couldn’t let things go and had to make my point across. As I got older I learned that you don’t always have to be right and there are just certain things you don’t need to prove to anyone.
This bad habit of mine to keep score was brought into my marriage. Needless to say, it didn’t help our bond and seriously led to a lack of self-responsibility for my actions.
My husband at the time called me out on this habit. I’m grateful for that experience. Now, I don’t look at discussions as a means to get my point across or to be right anymore. I look at these heavy discussions as an opportunity to get a better understanding of each other.
Don’t be like me and let this lesson take years to learn. Going from slamming doors to having a civil discussion is quite a breakthrough.
Final Tips on Settling Arguments in Your Relationship
A couple of tips:
- Don’t look to fight and get your way, look to find common ground
- If you’re too emotional, don’t talk, take a break and think about what’s truly bothering you
- Don’t assume the other person knows what’s wrong
- Remember to listen more than you speak
I hope this would forever change the way you decide to solve problems with people and in your relationship. If you failed to keep it calm and cool in your last discussion don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness. This new way of settling arguments takes practice.
Lastly, don’t forget to be nice. Being nice will prevent so many problems. Be nice to your spouse and be kind to others so that they will want to solve problems with you and will not fight with you.
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Yessenia is a compelling and innovative program and operations manager who uses her 5+ years of experience in operations management and graphic design to determine small business needs in the areas of inventory costs, labor expenses, P&L, COGs, marketing, and graphic design to create and manage profitable plans for small businesses and individual projects. She is the Owner and Founder of Tru.Works.