Arguing in a relationship doesn't have to be a bad thing. No couple, no matter how close or compatible they are, can go through life without at least an occasional disagreement. It's important to be able to address minor issues that arise before they turn into more serious problems. The key is to stopping arguments getting out of control is to work on your communication skills.
Accepting that conflict is part of any close relationship is the first step towards effective arguing. Conflict may be a positive thing, says Marie Hartwell-Walker in the article, "10 Rules for Friendly Fighting for Couples," on "PsychCentral." It can help a couple identify what areas of their relationship require work. When an argument starts, take a moment to concentrate on the issue, instead of attacking one another. No matter how wound up you are, avoid name-calling and making cruel digs at your partner. Keep reminding yourself that your goal is to resolve the argument and improve your relationship, not cause each other even more hurt and upset.
Listening is a crucial skill in a relationship. It may be tempting, during an argument, to keep talking until you feel you have made your point. However, if both parties don't have an equal opportunity to speak, a healthy resolution is impossible. To listen effectively and respectfully, you must listen actively -- to really hear what your partner is saying -- as opposed to taking a break from speaking to figure out what you're going to say next, according to marital therapist Isadora Alman in the article, "I Hear You: Five Tips On Being a Good Listener," for "Psychology Today." You must also acknowledge your partner's feelings, and let him know that you understand how he feels, whether you feel the same or not.
To help avoid arguments, identify what you and your partner argue about most often. Remember, sometimes what is a seemingly minor squabble may be indicative of a bigger problem. For example, perhaps you argue a lot about the allocation of household chores. You may feel that your partner doesn't pull his weight. On the surface, this seems to be an argument about taking the trash out. However, it may stem from your concerns that you have given up your career to raise your children. Be honest with your partner about your fears, your desires and your needs -- and ask the same of him. Be direct with each other, and you may find that you can avoid many arguments. Ask for what you want, advises the article, "Dealing with Couples' Anger," for Colorado State University Extension, and ask your partner to tell you what he wants.
Work on a Compromise Together
Compromise is the key to resolving an argument effectively. Discuss how you can reach a solution, at least in the short-term, suggests Colorado State University Extension. Live with your compromise for at least three months, and then have a discussion to review the situation. You may need to make further adjustments until you are both happy. When you talk about how your relationship has evolved over the past few months, try to stay positive and supportive.
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