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How to Reconcile Arguments With a Spouse

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Arguing, no matter how intense, signifies a rift in the couple's partnership as they bicker rather than stand together and resolve issues, according to Susan Heitler, a psychologist, in her article, "Beware of Mistaken Marriage Advice That 'All Couples Fight' " on the Psychology Today website. Couples need to find ways to resolve differences rather than work against each other or ignore the problems they face. Working toward calm and cooperative communication with your spouse is a step in the right direction.

Identify the Issues

Often both spouses are afraid to make the first move and think they know what the other one is thinking. Sacrifice the need to be right by making the first move toward peaceful, assertive communication, recommends John M. Grohol, a psychologist, in his article, "Reconciling Relationship Conflicts," published on Psych Central. Invite your spouse to talk calmly about the problems in your marriage. To the best of your ability, remove the emotion from the conversation and focus on specific problems such as not having enough free time, not spending enough time together or needing more help around the house.

Avoid the Blame Game

As arguing and fighting increases in frequency, duration and strength, couples often blame each other, which is counterproductive when it comes to conflict resolution. Blaming your spouse reduces the intimacy in your marriage, makes your partner defensive and increases the likelihood of building bitterness and resentment between the two of you, according to Dr. Neil Farber in the article, "5 Ways Blaming Hurts Relationships," published on Psychology Today. Don't stop acknowledging problems in an attempt to avoid arguing with your spouse. Rather, tell your spouse you are walking away when things get heated. When you both calm down, you can talk about your issues without pointing the finger at one another.

Stop, Look and Listen

Take note of how much you actually listen to your spouse. Make a checklist for yourself and pay attention as you talk or argue. Do you interrupt, become over-emotional or irrational rather than letting your partner finish his thought or express his feelings? Do you fold your arms and tune him out while you wait for your turn to speak? Take steps to change. Bite your tongue gently or pinch your arm to silence yourself when you feel the need to interrupt. Unfold your arms and breathe deeply to relax and open your mind and body to listening and hearing what your spouse has to say. Listening to each other can reduce the arguing in your marriage. You can't change your spouse, but changes in your behavior can bring about changes in hers as well.

Communication and Compromise

When you sit down to discuss an issue with your spouse, stick to the subject at hand, advises the article, "Difficulty in Marriage Relationships," published on the Family Solutions Counseling Center website. For example, if your issue is household chores, make a list of the chores that need to be done as well as the frequency. Divide the chores according to what you like and then compromise when it comes to the chores neither of you really wants to do. You may agree to clean up after the dog, if he takes out the garbage and weeds the garden. If emotions or other unresolved issues arise, kindly get the conversation back on track and make a note to talk about the other issues at a later date.

Seeking Help For Marital Distress

Marital distress is more than just being unhappy or encountering problems with your spouse. It is being dissatisfied with the marriage itself. Fighting can become a daily occurrence or the couple may completely shut down and avoid one another. Chronic disappointment is a huge factor at this stage, as is the loss of sex life and good feelings toward one another. Couples are in danger of divorce or separation when they are this unhappy. Couples therapy is recommended.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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