7 rules to follow when arguing with your parnter
It’s always amazed me how quickly small disagreements can turn into full blown
battles within moments. and the more we know and love someone the more
ammunition we have at our disposal. My husband and I have been together for over
14 years, young parents struggling against every ones expectations. but the moment we
got married everything changed. Suddenly it was our expectations we were struggling with.
The disagreements become battles until we were In all out war.
Desperate to save our marriage we turned to marriage counselling. To be honest it’s been some years ago.
And I have forgotten a lot of the what was said to us. But the thing that stuck was the rules of engagement. How to argue, without fighting.
I am human (with a temper) and we do still slip up every now and then, but when we follow the rules. our communication works 100 % better.
1. Always start with how you feel
When addressing your partner if you go in, full of righteous anger over how they have wronged you.
"You are so selfish!" your finger firmly pointing in their direction of course they are going to get defensive.
On the other hand. start with how the situation makes you feel.
"I feel like you weren’t thinking about me at all” it instantly changes the tone of the conversation. Your still stating what happened but less accusation goes a long way to getting a more open response.
2. Never kitchen sink
This is a term I picked up from our counselling sessions; simply put it means stay on topic. Don’t drag other past wrongs into this new disagreement. Nothing will make your argument escalate faster as your partner will instantly do the same thing to prove their points as well. It’s tempting especially for us with long memories, but it doses nothing to improve your current situation. just adds more fuel to a fire you should be putting out.
3. Never name call or stoop to personal attacks.
This is the most obvious in my list but the most important in my opinion. Calling your partner names, or swearing at them or using information that you know against them should be taboo. It’s hurtful, mean and destructive of all. Words break hearts, be careful of them. A thoughtless insult
will stay in their memories long after the very reason for the fight.
4. Stick to the facts.
As tempting as it is in the heat of an argument to exaggerate stick to the facts as best you know them. One thing I have learned is to Never use the word never. He will always pull out a distant time when he took out the garbage. It may have been three years ago, but it disproves your use of never.
5. Don’t interrupt
This drives everyone nuts, and well it should. Be respectful of what your partner has to say, bite your tongue and wait till they are done. Then respond. If you have to interrupt, ask first, it’s polite. Just because your partner lives with you and puts up with your snoring doesn’t mean we have the right to take over the conversation. You both need to be heard. But it also helps if you listen while you’re waiting to talk :)
6. Respect their opinion.
Remember that not every time are you going to agree, and sometimes it’s better to agree to disagree. but even if you think they are crazy for thinking differently to you. It’s their right as an individual to think and feel what they do. After all you feel that about yourself right?
7. Never go to bed angry
sometimes its hard to let the flare of anger go, but its important for you both to find a way to connect on a positive emotional level before heading into a new day. Every time my husband and I have not kissed and made up before bed, the anger and resentment flows into the following day. Find a way to be loving towards each other, the rewards are obvious.
Of course all this is easy to say and not so easy to always do, but if we act on love amazing things can happen. Its hard not to return love when its freely given.
To quote Dr Phil "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy"
Food for thought…
Pease feel free to add any other tips or bits of advice I have not covered here. Marriage is an ever evolving thing, and as my father says marriage needs more maintenance then any car he has ever owned :)
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