Almost all relationships endure disagreements or quarrels that stem from different personalities or viewpoints. These arguments can be healthy for couples as they learn how to manage conflicts together, resulting in learning more about each other. To benefit from these arguments and come out stronger, there are important guidelines to follow.
First and foremost, couple’s need to understand that when arguments become heated and/or escalated, they may end up in yelling/screaming matches resulting in harsh comments that were not intended. To avoid this from happening, make sure to take a timeout during the argument to calm yourself in avoidance of saying hurtful words in the heat of the moment. This behavior will decrease damage to your relationship and avoid criticizing each other’s character. In addition, it is imperative that you offer an apology when the time is right, regardless of whether you think you are right or wrong. It is important to take responsibility for part of the argument and acknowledge that hurt has been caused and you are still there for your partner. During this apology time, be sure to listen to your partners perspective of the fight and understand where they are coming from, by repeating what you heard back to them. Also, recognize their emotional pain and frustration and remember that the primary goal is to reach a happy medium where both of you feel understood and are able to move forward.
As important as it is to identify your partners feelings, it is also necessary to share your side of the argument without pointing fingers or placing blame. Remember to start statements with “I” messages and avoid statements that begin with “you”. This should be done in a calm adult manner after taking your “timeout” to let your heart rate slow down and decrease adrenaline. Conflicts are inevitable in relationships; therefore, it is the way you manage them that will truly determine how much the fight will affect a relationship. Even if voices are raised and anger is in the air, remember to take a deep breath and allow yourself time to think and calm down before continuing with the discussion. Work together to find a solution rather than attacking each other and defending yourself. If necessary, couple’s counseling is always an option to learn how to communicate with one another more effectively and gain an understanding of the deeper issues behind your partner’s emotions.