Marriage Guidance Step by Step
Argue Smarter – Save Your Relationship with These Seven Tips
Every relationship is going to have its ups and downs – and there are always going to be fights, arguments, and disagreements that need to be navigated.
One of the most important things you can do in a long-term relationship is learn how to argue smarter, how to fight strategically in a way that helps you get your point across, your feelings respected, but also that helps your relationship get stronger and make sure that your partner feels heard and respected, too.
Unsurprisingly, this often proves to be more challenging than most people assume.
According to some marriage guidance experts, even happily married couples regularly report having an almost impossible time arguing or fighting with their partner in a way that strengthens their relationship. Many of them complain that this is the biggest hurdle they have to clear with the people that they love, and most are willing to try anything to find a way to better navigate these sticky situations.
Below we highlight seven strategies that you want to use the next time an argument or fight occurs. The inside information below should help you both come out on the other side of that situation feeling better, feeling heard, and feeling like your relationship is stronger because of the conflict – not weaker.
Let’s dig right in!
Start With Space
Right out of the box it is ALWAYS a good idea to give your partner – and yourself – a little bit of extra space when arguments are starting to heat up, especially if things are starting to feel like they are running off the rails.
Sometimes this means creating a bit of physical space to cool things down, other times it means distancing yourself from the central point of the argument emotionally or mentally. At the end of the day, though, it’s almost impossible to resolve an argument when both of you are emotionally charged and fired up about whatever it is you are trying to tackle.
Pick Up When You Both Are Ready
Too often fights and arguments re-escalate when someone wants to bring the topic backup before both people involved have calmed down, which is why you need to make sure that there’s plenty of distance for de-escalation.
Trying to jumpstart the conversation again when one party is still running hot runs the risk of the situation getting worse, and even if your initial inclination is to get things over with as quickly as possible it’s always a better idea to wait until you’re sure that both of you are ready to come at this from a less emotionally charged standpoint.
Volley Your Concerns
When you both are ready, though, you’ll want to take turns calmly explaining your side of the position.
This is usually going to be a situation with a lot of back and forth, but it’s important that you both feel that you have the time and the space to explain your side, explain your feelings, and communicate exactly why you feel the way you feel.
It’s not a bad idea to try and come at this from a couple of different angles, really working to make sure that your point is coming across completely. Volleying your concerns back and forth, giving each other all the space in the world to get their thoughts off their chest is a huge piece of the puzzle to successfully communicating when things are a little tough.
Listen To Listen, Not To Respond
When your partner is explaining to you exactly why they feel the way they feel you DO NOT want to be listening just so that you can respond, justify, or explain your actions, your behaviors, or your thoughts.
Instead you want to be actively listening to everything they are sharing with you, listening to listen – and listening to understand – rather than just listening so that you can lop something back at them.
The whole point of this exercise is to communicate not just to holler at one another. Communication is always a give and take, and you’ll only be able to resolve things between the two of you if you both know where the other is coming from (even if you don’t necessarily agree).
Look For Chances To Compromise
After you have both had an opportunity to clear the air and to be understood it’s time to start looking for solutions.
Ideal solutions are going to be a 50-50 kind of mixture where both of you are looking for ways to meet in the middle. Neither one should feel like they are “losing” the argument or that their feelings are being invalidated, but no one should feel as though they are “winning” the argument or getting away with bloody murder, either.
The strongest relationships in the world are built on the back of compromise, looking for mutually beneficial solutions, and trying to find ways to make one another happy even if small sacrifices need to be made.
You obviously need to outline your boundaries and stick true to your values and shouldn’t have to compromise on things that are of critical importance, but you do need to find ways to love one another, to respect one another, and to meet in the middle as often as possible.
One of the last pieces of the puzzle to effective communication when fighting, arguing, or having a bit of conflict in a relationship is apologizing and agreeing to move forward from here.
Far too many people try to apologize in the beginning for reasons that they think they should be apologizing for and then are surprised when they discover later down the line that their apology wasn’t considered all that sincere – not because it wasn’t heartfelt but because the apology had nothing to do with the real underlying issue.
After you have had a chance to communicate with each other, explain your side, and figure out a solution moving forward you have all the information you need to apologize for the real reason things went sideways.
Take this opportunity to patch things up, to take responsibility, and to get things going in the right direction again.
Make Up In A Memorable Way
There’s a lot of power in finding ways to make up memorably, with the biggest benefit being that the two of you will inevitably look forward to resolving your future conflicts in a similar way so that you both get to this point as quickly as possible.
Try to let go of feelings of anger and reason as much as possible, as these feelings are only going to poison the relationship that you have – a relationship that should be built on respect, love, and trust.
If both of you are make a gesture to make up memorably you’ll find there’s no obstacle, argument, or conflict the two of you can’t overcome going forward!