Choose the right time to talk, don’t attack and make sure that your partner is really listening!
Conflict. We all go through it. And when you’re in a relationship, it’s basically unavoidable.
Are you wondering how to stop arguing with your partner? Has the frequency and intensity of your arguments grown over time?
If you want to stop fights with your partner from ruining your relationship, here are five steps you should take:
1. Choose the right time to talk
If you talk to your partner when you’re angry, you’ll probably say things that you don’t mean. In the heat of the moment, your words are more likely to hurt your partner and not necessarily be accurate. Try to wait at least two hours after a disagreement before you speak up. Taking time away from the conflict will give you the chance to calm down and speak your mind more clearly. If you can talk calmly about exactly what you are upset about, you will be more likely to work out your issues and not let your emotions escalate.
Also, try to pick a time when you and your partner are both calm and can approach the conversation with good energy.
2. Don’t attack
Many of us attack our partners when we argue, but that behaviour gets us nowhere.
Let’s say that your partner is always getting home from work late.
Instead of saying, “You’re always late. Why do you have to be such a jerk?”, try, “It makes me sad when you are always home late from work. I work hard to get us all together, and I really miss you when you aren’t there.” Look at the difference here. If you use the first example, your partner will immediately go on the defensive, and the conversation will be over before it begins.
In the second example, you are sharing how you feel, and no one can argue with how you feel.
3. Make sure that your partner knows you’re listening
This can be difficult to do, but it’s a key way to listen effectively. It’s a reflective response.
In the case of the example above, with the partner who didn’t come home in time their perfect response would be, “I’m sorry that my being late for dinner made you so sad.”
That way, you know that your partner has understood you, which might deflate the argument.
4. Try to remember that we’re only human
More often than not, our mistakes aren’t a reflection of our feelings about someone.
Next time you’re quick to react to something that your partner does, take a moment to figure out why they did it. Perhaps you won’t need two hours to decompress after all.
5. Prepare to apologise and forgive
Apologies and forgiveness can be hard for some. However, it’s one of the most important parts of any relationship.
Why don’t we want to say that we’re sorry? Will we convey weakness? Are we unable to let our anger go? Do our actions embarrass us?
Whatever the reason for our reluctance, we still need to learn how to apologise. When you apologise to your partner, never say, “I’m sorry, but…” because it invalidates your entire apology. Recognise your mistakes and apologise without any qualifiers. And we should always be ready to forgive, too, so that life can move forward. Learning how to stop fighting is a key part of keeping your relationship healthy.
Carefully choose your time to talk, don’t attack, let your partner know that you’re listening, and don’t hold on to anger. Sounds worth your time, no?
Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.