3 Questions To Ask Yourself If You & Your Partner Fight Constantly

You’re probably single if you’re not fighting it in your relationship. This isn’t to say that “his” and “her” boxing gloves should hang in the bathroom next to the towels, but fighting — even in healthy relationships — is part of a happily ever after, whether we like it or not.

It’s almost impossible to hang around someone all the time and never get annoyed, pissed off, or hurt. Still, there is a massive disconnect between fighting every once in a while and always fighting.

So, if couple fights are constantly bringing you down, there are some essential questions to ask yourself that can help you learn how to improve communication and conflict resolution skills with your partner.

Why do fights occur, even in healthy relationships, and how do you resolve conflict with your partner?

Many conflicts between two partners escalate because of one silent question each person is wondering: “Am I respected?”

Of course, other questions might also be addressed: “Does this person want to be with me? Should I leave? Is this a red flag? Are we delaying the inevitable breakup?”

The problem with these questions is that they are about as loaded as they come. They are also not benign.

Instead, these worries question the foundation of your relationship. Instead of allowing yourself to take a step back, take a deep breath, and think, “We are strong enough to get through this, “ these questions ignite your fight-or-flight instincts.

You either stay and argue or think about packing up your suitcase and walking out the door. Cue dramatic exit.

These questions also block effective communication with your partner. Suddenly, you aren’t two people fighting for your relationship or working toward conflict resolution. Instead, you are fighting to see if you can get your way, win the argument, earn the proverbial medal, and hang it from your bedpost.

Fighting from this stance will nearly always bring up past baggage and heaviness, making even the pettiest, no-big-deal fights seem surmountable.

This is not a healthy relationship. Instead, you and your partner need to learn how to improve communication and conflict resolution skills as a couple.

Here are three questions to ask yourself if you and your partner constantly fight.

1. Are you whole and complete?

Ask yourself: “If I felt completely loved and knew I was whole and complete, how would I enter into and handle the situation?”

You are asking from a place of security. You know you are loved. You know you are whole. You know you are complete. This stops you from getting something from the other person — validation or satisfaction or a simple sense of winning the argument — that you can use to hold over your head later.

When you approach a conflict knowing you are safe, you act accordingly. You’re in control. You’re rational. You’re open. You’re willing to work together to find a solution for both parties.

You also can bring this safety and security into the conversation as an offering. Your partner will feel less threatened. Their biology will naturally mimic yours, avoiding a ‘fight or flight response.’

2. Do you know your partner’s needs?

Ask yourself: “What is the unexpressed need my partner conveys that they may not know how to communicate?”

Behind every argument is a lot of emotion and need. Think about it: You probably don’t argue with people you don’t care for (aside from the occasional IRS agent and anyone who works at Comcast). You may recognize that you are arguing based on this need (or your partner’s need), but it can still be tough to express what your heart wants. Doing so makes you vulnerable.

People don’t like being vulnerable, even in otherwise healthy relationships. Many are outright against it, even when it is one of the keys to a happy union based on authentic communication.

To cover up this vulnerability, they present an aggressive stance instead. They might attack, pass judgment, and get defensive. They might act like a downright jerk to cover up the fact that they want to be loved, desired, reassured, and respected. All people want these things, even if they’re unwilling to say so because of their fear of losing the upper hand.

When you see through the cover-up and acknowledge that an attack on you is merely a need for you, you’re better able to enter the conversation with compassion and cooperation, knowing that the attack is simply a smokescreen for a deep level of unexpressed caring. And both these things work wonders in any conflict.

3. Do you take responsibility?

Ask yourself: “Where can I take responsibility?”

It nearly always takes two to tango; even if the other person is overtly responsible for damaging a relationship, their partner is rarely blame-free.

Take adultery, for instance. The person who cheats is the one who deserves the brunt of the burden, but that doesn’t mean their partner never did anything wrong. After all, people cheat for a reason.

This doesn’t mean you should enter into every argument with your hands in the air, yelling, “It’s me! I’m the guilty one.” But the idea will deflate if you’re open enough to see that you bear some responsibility. Admitting wrongdoing is like letting go of a balloon before you tie it shut.

Of course, removing the argumentative stance from a conflict is a good thing — its eviction helps turn an argument into a conversation. But accepting responsibility for your part in any dysfunction also allows you to take control over the one thing you can — yourself.

By doing that, your partner will (hopefully) follow your example and do the same. At the very least, it allows you to move past the blame game and avoid finger-pointing.

Try these questions out the next time you have a relationship fight with your partner (and there will be a next time — and that’s okay!). You’ll likely find that the difference between arguing and agreeing isn’t all that far apart. It’s just a matter of building effective communication and conflict resolution skills as a couple.

Originally written by Clayton Olson on YourTango

Featured image via Timur Weber on Pexels


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