When you’re in a relationship, arguing is inevitable. Usually, it’s thought of as a bad thing, but it is actually healthy when done properly. Sure, it would be nice if all relationships were perfect and two people would always get along and agree on everything. Unfortunately, that’s unrealistic. There will always be disagreements. So the way we react to those disagreements is essential to a successful relationship.
Here are 10 ways to have healthy arguments with your partner:
1. Deal with the issue at hand.
In other words, don’t let issues pile up. Inevitably this will cause you to unleash them all at once. Deal with the issues at hand — as they happen. If there is a past, unresolved issue, you can always address it calmly at another time. There’s no reason to pile onto another disagreement.
2. Don’t yell.
Problems never get resolved by yelling about them. It’s much better to solve an issue by whispering rather than trying to be the loudest person to get your point across. It’s important to stay calm when there is a problem so both parties are free to express their grievances. Speaking loudly or over someone else will just communicate that you don’t care about their perspective.
3. Paraphrase their concerns back to them.
This technique may seem annoying, but it ensures that both partners are actively listening. One partner will paraphrase their side of the argument for no more than 60 seconds. During this time, the other partner is listening quietly. When the 60 seconds is over then the other partner will paraphrase what the first partner said to show they were actively listening. Then the other partner gets a chance to state their side. It’s important to show your partner that you are listening to what they say and that you truly understand it when repeating it back.
4. Take a time out.
Sometimes during a disagreement, there comes a time when one or both partners start to feel so much anger that they “snap”. To protect feelings and the relationship, a time out should be called to allow both parties to cool off. Take a few minutes to collect your thoughts and breathe before continuing the argument.
5. Ask yourself why you’re angry.
It’s important to establish what the argument is really about to resolve any issues. Before jumping into an argument just because you’re angry, take a few minutes to write out your thoughts or simply reflect on what’s bothering you. This will help you identify the core of the problem (which may not be your partner’s fault after all).
6. Time it right.
Healthy arguments get resolved when they are brought up at a time when both parties are able to sit down and listen fully. It’s best not to bring up any issues if you are about to leave. Either make time to talk, or plan a time to have the discussion later.
7. Stay humble.
We all like to think we are always right and our way is the only way. Unfortunately, that is not realistic, nor is it fair. There may be a time when you find that you may be wrong, or, your partner may have valid points. It’s best to keep an open mind and not assume you are right about everything.
8. Don’t fight when you are tired or hungry.
It’s never a good idea to deal with a difficult topic while hungry or tired. It leads to unneeded frustration. If you find yourself approaching an argument while hangry, then simply schedule a time to resolve it when you and your partner are calm and rational.
9. Use “I feel” statements.
Using “I feel” statements stops either party from getting defensive. It also stops the blame game before it starts. Instead of saying, “You always ignore my opinion,” which is a surefire way to anger your partner, say, “When you ask for my opinion and then do the opposite, I feel like you don’t value what I think.”
10. Try to be empathetic.
One way to resolve issues is to see things from your partner’s point of view. Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel. Maybe they have been through some bad times in the past that causes them to overreact or seem overly sensitive. When taking into account how others feel at that moment, it’s hard to hold onto anger.
There’s no doubt: arguing with your partner is not fun. Still, it’s an inevitable part of any long-term relationship, so it’s essential you do it in a productive way. Try out these tips and you’re sure to have a better discussion.
What’s your best tip for healthy arguments? Tell us in the comments!