It’s natural for two people to disagree from time to time and for arguments to stem from those disagreements. There’s no set number of arguments that are too many per week or month how you fight. How your arguments make you feel are more important factors to consider. Regardless of the frequency of your disagreements, it’s essential to find ways to communicate your thoughts clearly and without malice and learn to compromise.
If you and your partner are arguing more often than you’re comfortable with; you’re probably not resolving the issues leading to your arguments. Try these strategies to de-escalate your arguments and find mutually satisfying resolutions.
The next time you and your partner get into a heated discussion, try these six steps to diffuse and resolve your argument.
6 Steps to Diffuse an Argument
Listen, don’t just wait for your turn to speak
Often, you know when an argument is brewing. You might be stewing over something your partner said or did that upset you and spend your day ruminating over what to say. Then when your argument starts, you may be so focused on what you want to say and getting your point across, that you don’t actually listen to what your partner is saying. This leads to miscommunication and potentially leaves both of you feeling unheard and unappreciated.
Don’t focus on winning
If you feel strongly about an issue, you may think that being right and “winning” the argument is critical. Sometimes, you have to agree to disagree, or even admit that perhaps both parties are in the wrong. Even if you’re wholly committed to your point of view, continuing the argument and refusing to listen to your partner can make them feel small or stupid, which are feelings you shouldn’t trigger in someone you love.
But do focus on the current issue
When you argue frequently and don’t always reach mutually acceptable resolutions, it’s tempting to bring up old hurts and problems in every argument. If you notice this is happening, say something like “I don’t want to get distracted by other issues right now.” Keep your discussion focused on the issue at hand so that you can find a resolution and move forward.
Express your feelings
Sharing your feelings can put you in a vulnerable situation. However, no matter how long you and your partner have been together, chances are they don’t always know what you’re thinking or feeling. Sharing your thoughts and feelings is the only way to clue your partner into what’s going on in your mind. Yes, it’s scary, but learning to be vulnerable together can ultimately lead to a stronger and more satisfying relationship.
Apologize for hurting your partner’s feelings
If your partner expresses hurt feelings or explains a situation when you said or did something that led to hurt feelings, apologize. It’s not going to weaken your position to recognize that your words or actions contributed to hurt feelings in the person you love. Accepting responsibility for your words and actions can empower you to make healthier choices and become more mindful of how you express yourself.
Be willing to compromise to reach a resolution
Let’s face it; some disagreements are easier to resolve than others. For example, it’s a lot easier to find a compromise on whose turn it is to clean the bathroom than to decide whether or not to have a family. Nonetheless, in a committed relationship, you are your partner are equally invested and should be willing to work together to find resolutions to your disagreements. Sometimes, you might even need to ask what your partner wants, remember. You can’t read their mind any more than they can read yours.
Work with a mediator
If you and your partner are arguing too much for your own comfort but are struggling to communicate clearly or find mutually acceptable resolutions, you may benefit from working with a couples counselor. A counselor can help you learn and practice communication skills so that when a disagreement arises, not only are you both able to say what you mean but also listen to the other person’s point of view.
At North Brooklyn Marriage and Family Therapy, the team of licensed and experienced therapists and psychologists offer compassionate and customized therapy services for couples of all ages, ethnicities, and orientations. They can help you and your partner strengthen your relationship and improve your communication.