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How to Fight Right and Strengthen Your Relationship

Updated on May 10, 2011

Arguing with a loved one is never fun. Raised voices and harsh words lead to hurt feelings and hard tensions, and sometimes it can feel like your relationship will never be the same. However, arguing is actually an essential part to any relationship (Physical and mental abuse, though, are never okay!). Usually when there is no arguing in a relationship there is a problem. The occasional lover’s quarrel keeps a relationship open and honest and can even be a release for certain tensions. When you follow the steps below and keep your arguments fair, you can resolve a fight and walk away with your relationship even stronger than before.

Take turns

The official “format’ for arguing should be as follows: you speak your piece, your partner listens. They speak their side and you listen. Make sure when you are listening, you really listen, not thinking about football while your eyes glazed over. As much as you may want to interrupt them when they are speaking, don’t. If they interrupt you while you’re speaking, remind them calmly that they will have their turn.

Control your voice

Make a strong effort to not raise your voice when you are arguing. Elevated voices lead to elevated stress for both parties and evolve your argument into a shouting match where nobody gets their way. If you feel the urge to raise your voice, follow the clichéd calm-down techniques: take a deep breath, close your eyes, and count to ten—they’re clichéd because they work!(hopefully) If your partner begins to raise his voice, remind him to follow those steps, with as little smugness and nagging as you can muster.

Stay in the present

While making the points of your argument, stick to the here and now. Focus on what you’re currently fighting about and how you currently feel. Now is not the time to drudge up old resolved issues, throwing fuel on a fire you’re trying to put out. Is bringing up the time he shrunk your favorite sweater really going to help things? No, it won’t. So bite your tongue.

Be short and sweet

When it is your turn to talk, take a moment to think about your feelings. Explain them to your partner. And leave it at that. Be honest, direct, and specific as possible. Repeating the same points over and over will just annoy your partner and prolong the arguing.

Own your feelings

During arguments, make ‘I feel’ your mantra. By explaining your points using this phrase at the beginning you avoid blaming your partner and causing more tensions and will evolve the fight into a no-fun ‘blame game’.

Keeping your temper in check and following simple guidelines can go a long way toward resolving an argument in a way that is satisfying and enriching for both parties. The sooner you and your partner listen and respect each other, the sooner the fight can end—and the makeup sex begin!


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