Ever feel like you and your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend have fights that last too long and are impossible to end?
With any relationships there will be ups and downs, but there are ways to work through an argument using positive tools that can actually help both of you. Here are five things to try next time you want to prevent a never ending yelling match.
1. Don’t play the blame game
It is very easy to start your sentences with ‘you’ when you are mad at your partner. Consider the statement: ‘you never clean up after yourself.’ You obviously don’t want to put the blame on yourself for this, it’s clearly the fault of the other person (according to you anyway). But just starting your sentence with ‘I’ instead of ‘you,’ might help keep the argument from getting too heated. You could say ‘I feel like I am doing more than just my own share of the cleaning up.’ A statement like this will show your spouse your perspective. It will highlight why you are upset, how you are feeling, and it might even be easier to include a positive action your partner can do to alleviate the difficulty moving forward. Instead of highlighting blame, which not many people tend to take well, the ‘I’ sentence will show your spouse that you are not trying to blame them for the fight you are having and that you are trying to work with them instead of against them.
2. Touch to ease the tension
In an argument it’s unlikely that you will want to hold hands or even touch your partner at all in the middle of a spat. After all, at any point in time you might be fuming with anger. But as hard as it may be, next time you are in the middle of a disagreement, try holding hands or resting your hand on their knee while you discuss your viewpoint. The touch will give your body a boost of oxytocin, which will increase feelings of trust and reduce stress. As mad as you may be, you want to positively get through the argument with your partner. It may be uncomfortable or difficult in the beginning, but if it leads to a happier consultation instead of an argument, it’s worth it in the end right?
3. Tell a joke
Laughter can often be the last thing on your mind in the midst of an argument, but in truth, it could really help the situation. Laughter helps release tension and forces you to breathe. Depending on the matter you’re discussing your spouse may find this disrespectful, so use your judgement and be wise with this one. If you think it may cause offence you could always explain afterwards that you had nothing but good intentions and just wanted to diffuse the situation for a couple of minutes.
4. Broken Record Technique
Typically when someone is heated they start jumping from one point to the next without listening to what their partner has to say. They are so angry they do nothing but point the finger and give reason after reason why they are mad with you. If this is the case use the broken record technique; repeat what you want to say calmly but assertively. This will limit what your partner has to work against you with, if you have multiple responses to all the reasons they’re mad, the fight will go on and on and it’s more likely that it will never end.
5. Be Conciliatory
It is easy to come off defensive and angry if you are mad at your partner or if you think they are being unreasonable. Either way it is a great practice to keep reminding yourself that in the end what you want is a peaceful outcome. Thinking this throughout an argument will diffuse your anger and allow you to really say things that highlight the fact that you really do want to make amends. You can acknowledge your role in the problem, say you’re sorry, or reach out to your partner physically. Ever hear the quote “Pride means nothing when it comes to matters of the heart,” think about this the next time you have a fight with your loved one, it is not a competition for who is right or wrong, work through it together and you will both feel a lot better afterwards.
Sometimes it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when fighting with your partner but always remember it is you, your husband/wife, and your marriage you must take care of. Working at this everyday is the best way to have a long successful marriage or relationship. If the fight lasts longer than fifteen minutes come back to this question, “What’s best for the relationship?” This will allow you to both look at the bigger picture and focus on what will best help the both of you for the long term. The more you and your spouse try to positively work through an argument the easier it will get.