We hate to break the news, but if you’re in a long-term, committed relationship, fighting is inevitable. Why? Because, chances are, you and your partner don’t always think or behave the same way. You have different thoughts, opinions, triggers, and responses – and that’s totally normal. Disagreements can escalate into arguments, which, again, is normal. But if every time you argue, you go down an angry rabbit hole that gets your blood boiling and causes you to do or say things you’ll regret, it’s probably time to take a step back and learn how you can argue better.
When we say arguing “better,” we don’t mean better so that you can “win.” We mean so that you can come to a resolution and understanding of one another and prevent things from getting out of control. Here, we’ll discuss reasons why we argue in the first place and tips for helping you do it better.
Why Do We Argue?
Power & Control
Couples may struggle to define who has the power or control in the relationship. Oftentimes, it’s hard for either side to see that the power and control dynamic can and should constantly be in flux. It doesn’t have to be one-sided. Recognizing this and allowing the power and control to shift can make arguments easier and disagreements dissipate faster.
Respect & Recognition
Recognizing that your significant other is putting effort into your relationship is crucial, but what does respect and recognition look like?
- Discussing plans with your significant other before committing to them
- Appreciating what they do for you both
- Understanding they need some time alone
Tips for Arguing (and Communicating) Better
Begin the Argument Carefully
The beginning of an argument can significantly determine the outcome. According to relationship coach Steven Dziedzic, what matters most is your initial tone, the words you say, and the volume with which you speak those words. If any of those things begin with hostility, the discussion has a higher chance of heading downhill.
Listen With an Empathetic Ear
In order to better understand your partner, you must genuinely listen to your partner and see things through their eyes. What are the points they’re bringing up? How do they view the issue? What are they feeling at this moment? Communicating that you understand or should help you reach the next stage of the discussion.
Take Turns Talking
Don’t cut each other off. Each person should be allowed to speak uninterrupted. If needed, you could set a time limit for each person’s side of the conversation. That way, all thoughts and feelings can be communicated in due time with a focus on listening when you don’t have the floor.
Do you have any tips for arguing better? Share them with us in the comments below!